By: Steve Keenan Journalist | Specialist in rural tourism

Tuscany Now & More invites Helen Buxton, food blogger and founder of Scrummy Lane, to share her recipe for a popular ‘big hit’, Arancini di Riso. These Sicilian snacks are made with leftover risotto, stuffed with oozy mozzarella and dipped in made-from-scratch marinara sauce. 

The great thing about Arancini is that you can use any kind of leftover risotto you like, or really any kind of rice-heavy dish that you used a sticky kind of rice in. This can vary from leftover chicken paella-style rice to mushroom risotto. “For me, cooking/baking is about using everyday ingredients to create something delicious in the least amount of time possible. Let’s face it, we’re all mostly time-poor, especially mid-week – but we’re still hungry and like to eat good food!”

This quick and easy Arancini recipe is perfect for making a scrumptious dish with leftover risotto. For best results, Helen recommends to “roll your risotto into little balls first and let them chill in the fridge while you cook the sauce.”

Kitchen recipes

Arancini di Riso with Marinara Sauce

Serves 4 - Cook in 30 minutes 


Marinara sauce
- Tin of best quality whole tomatoes in their juice
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 chilli, fresh or dried
- A few sprigs of fresh herbs e.g. basil, parsley, thyme or half a teaspoon of dried oregano
- 60ml Extra-virgin olive oil
- Splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Teaspoon of sugar (optional)
- Salt & pepper

- Leftover risotto
- Squares of mozzarella cheese, about 1cm square
- 1 egg, whisked
- Breadcrumbs (start with two slices of bread: whizz into crumbs in a food processor)
- Olive oil, enough for a shallow layer in a frying pan


Step 1

Start by preparing your Marinara sauce. Crush the tomatoes by pouring them into a bowl and breaking them up in your hands or snipping them with scissors inside the can. Heat the Extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan with a fairly large surface area, add the garlic and cook until it’s sizzling, making sure it doesn’t brown.

Step 2

Add the tomatoes to the frying pan and then fill up the empty tomato can with water, swish it around and empty that into the pan, too. Add the chilli, salt and herbs, and stir, letting the sauce simmer for approximately 15 minutes When it thickens and a layer of bright orange oil appears on the surface, your sauce is ready.  Discard the chili and herbs, add balsamic vinegar and sugar if desired.

Step 3

Begin to make your Arancini. Take smallish tablespoons of your chilled leftover risotto and roll into balls. Push a square of mozzarella into each little ball and mould the rice back around it. Roll each ball first in the egg then in the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil, fry the little balls for a few minutes until nicely browned, turning regularly so that they crisp up well on all sides. Serve immediately with plenty of fresh marinara sauce for dipping. Buon Appetito!

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