Margherita risotto balls

Margherita risotto balls

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(7 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 1 hr

More effort

Makes 12
These deep-fried, arancini patties, made with tomato arborio rice, have moreish melting mozzarella cheese middles.

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per ball

  • kcal281
  • fat11g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs35.3g
  • sugars3.6g
  • fibre1.6g
  • protein8.3g
  • salt0.6g


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 500ml passata
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 300g arborio rice
    Arborio rice

    Arborio rice

    ahh-bore-e-o rice

    The high-starch kernels of this northern Italian-grown grain are shorter and plumper than any…

  • small glass of white wine
  • 25g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • knob of butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped basil



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 125g ball mozzarella, cut into 12 pieces
  • 75g seasoned flour



    Flour is usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As the main…

  • 2 eggs, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 125g pack dried breadcrumb
  • 1½ l oil, for deep-frying
  • rocket, to serve



    Rocket is a very 'English' leaf, and has been used in salads since Elizabethan times. It…


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 dressed rocket.

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Comments, questions and tips

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2nd Dec, 2017
I agree with others comments. I took about 15 mins in total to do all the prep stages. 45 mins to cook the rice, 30 mins to assemble, 2 x 1/2 hour cooling time and then need about 30 mins to batch fry them and finally 8 mins in the oven. I made 15 balls about the size of an apricot/over large golf ball. This is a dish to prepare at a leisurely pace in the afternoon ready for the evening. It's going to be my meatless Christmas starter so we're frying all tonight then eating a couple of samples whilst freezing the rest to then heat in the oven 'on the day'. Thanks GF readers for this suggestion - should take the heat off!
17th Oct, 2017
These are delicious but I'm not sure where the '10 mins preparation time' comes from! You need to stir the risotto for 40 mins plus all the other steps. You also need to build in the 2 chilling times. From start to finish mine took 2 and a half hours. I halved the quantities and made 8 balls, slightly smaller.
1st May, 2016
Very tasty for such simple and affordable ingredients. Makes very large balls will be freezing half!
9th Nov, 2013
Very tasty but not very fast thing to make! Made my risotto balls and left them to chill overnight before frying. I chopped the fresh basil very roughly and left it all quite large, flavour seemed to come through. Makes so much, i've got some chilling to be put in the freezer. Missed out heating them in the oven as this is how i'll re-heat them.
13th Sep, 2013
This is a very good recipe, it takes a little time to prepare but is well worth it. The only thing is that the basil doesn't really add anything to the flavour. I used more than the recipe recommends but still couldn't taste it. We will be experimenting with other fillings in the future. Because we could eat all the balls (and they are big!) we cooked them to the last part of the method (finishing them off in the oven) then left them to chill fully and froze them. I think they should be okay.
29th Sep, 2013
I am thinking of cooking these Margherita Risotto balls for my daughters lunch box, are they just as good cold?
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