Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based
saucepan. Add the onion, cover and sweat
until soft. In another pan, mix the passata
and stock, and warm over a low heat.
Add the garlic to the onion, cook for
30 secs, then tip in the rice and stir to
coat in the oil. Increase the heat, pour in
the wine and let it simmer until absorbed.
Keeping the pan over a medium heat,
start adding the tomato stock mixture
to the rice a ladleful at a time, letting the
rice absorb most of the liquid after each
addition. Keep stirring as you go, adding
liquid until the rice is al dente – you may
not need all the liquid. You don’t want
this to be as wet as a normal risotto,
so keep cooking until your wooden
spoon can stand up in it. Turn off the
heat, stir through the Parmesan,
butter and basil, then cover for 5 mins.
Season and tip onto a tray to cool
completely, then chill until firm.
Shape the risotto into 12 large balls.
Make a hole in the centre with your finger
and stuff in a piece of mozzarella, then
reshape into a ball. Now start a little
production line, dipping the balls in the
flour, then the egg and coating with the
breadcrumbs – then chill for 30 mins.
Heat the oil to 160C in a large deep
saucepan and heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4. Deep-fry the risotto balls
for 8-10 mins – you’ll need to do this in
batches. Drain on kitchen paper, then
transfer to a tray and pop in the oven for
6-8 mins to make sure the mozzarella is
completely melted. Sprinkle with salt,
then leave to cool for a few moments
before tucking in. Serve with some