Always vegetarian, often vegan

Arancini, risotto balls from Zia Piera

Mushroom risotto balls made from leftovers

The base is mushroom risotto, colored with saffran. Ideal to use if you have leftover risotto. 

The saffran makes them orange so they look like oranges. Arancini is Italian for oranges. 

How we discovered this recipe

We went camping a lot when the kids were little. There was one campsite in particular that was a regular destination for us. Camping Pian di Boccio in Bevagna, Italy, had everything we needed for a wonderful family holiday. A swimming pool, friends for the children and a fantastic restaurant for us all.

Zia Piera, the owner of the campsite, cooked delicious meals every day. She even created a cookbook for her guests. When we saw the recipe for these risotto balls, we didn’t know what they were supposed to look like. On our request, Piera agreed to do a demonstration for us. There were at least 15 people watching breathlessly as she formed a ball out of the chilled risotto, filled it with all sorts of goodies, coated it in breadcrumbs and baked it. Everyone wanted to try it and the restaurant was packed that night. And delicious!

Arancini, filled risotto balls from Zia Piera

Delicious risotto with mushrooms, filled with mozzarella and peas. Isn't everything nice about that? Prepare well in advance, freeze well and your guests will think you can cook very well (while it really isn't complicated).
Voorbereiding 45 minutes
Bereiding 15 minutes
Koeltijd 45 minutes
Totale tijd 1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Mains
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: rice, risotto, mozzarella
Porties: 12 balls


  • 250 g chestnut mushrooms
  • 4 shalots
  • 500 g risotto rice
  • 1 g saffran
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 200 ml vino blanco seco
  • 50 g vegetal butter
  • 1 litre vegetal stock
  • 50 g Parmezan cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 bol mozzarella, preferably buffalo mozzarella
  • 4 tablespoons frozen peas
  • 50 g bread-crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • olive oil, pepper, salt
  • frying oil


  • Saute the shallots in a dash of olive oil until soft.
  • Chop the chestnut mushrooms very finely and add them to the shallots. Fry them under high heat so that they caramelize.
  • Now add the risotto rice. Stir well so that all the rice grains have come into contact with the mushrooms.
  • Add the turmeric and saffron. The risotto should turn fairly yellow. If the color is not yet sufficient, then slowly add another teaspoon of turmeric.
  • Gradually add the vegetable stock and slowly bring to the boil. Every time the rice boils dry, add some vegetable stock. Repeat until the rice is almost cooked.
  • Now add the white wine and let the now cooked rice boil dry.
  • Turn off the heat and stir the Parmesan cheese through the risotto.
  • Now let the risotto cool down,
  • Split 2 eggs. Mix the egg yolks with the cooled risotto so that it becomes sticky.
  • Cut the mozzarella into small pieces, thaw the peas and have both ready.
  • Fill 3 soup plates: the first with a few tablespoons of white flour, the second with the 2 beaten eggs and the third with breadcrumbs.
  • Now we are ready to create the risotto balls.. Take a handful of risotto and press it firmly together to form a ball. Now make a cavity in the ball and fill it with a few pieces of mozzarella and a few peas. Close the cavity with a little extra risotto. Make sure no mozzarella or peas are visible.
  • Roll the ball first in the flour, then in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs so that the ball is completely covered with breadcrumbs. Repeat this until all the risotto is used up.
  • Heat the oil to 180 degrees. This can be done in sunflower oil but also in a deep fryer.
  • Bake the arancini until the crust is firm and fairly brown.
  • Serve with a little salad. Enjoy your dinner.
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