Pea & tarragon arancini with saffron mayonnaise

by Giovanna Ryan

Deep fried risotto balls from Giovanna Ryan of Three Girls Cook


1 banana shallot, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
30g butter
200g arborio risotto rice
Approx 250ml vegetable stock
100ml white wine
100g peas (cooked if fresh or defrosted if frozen)
1 small bunch tarragon, leaves picked
50g pecorino, grated
1 egg, beaten
100g plain flour
150g dried breadcrumbs
Large pinch of saffron threads
2 egg yolks
150ml vegetable, sunflower or rapeseed oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Vegetable or sunflower oil, for frying


Gently cook the shallot and celery in half the butter for 5 mins, until soft and translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter. Cook for 1 min or so.

Alternate adding the stock and wine a ladle at a time and stir constantly. Allow the rice to absorb most of the liquid until you add the next lot. You may find you need more or less of the stock. When the rice has cooked through, remove from the heat. You might need slightly more or less liquid than is specified here.

Roughly blend the peas with a hand blender or in a food processor with enough tarragon leaves to taste, depending on their strength of flavour. Then add the pea puree along with the pecorino and remaining butter to the rice. Season to taste and leave to cool completely.

Roll the cooled risotto into golf ball-sized balls and leave to firm up in the fridge for about 15 mins.

Put the beaten egg, flour and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Coat each of the balls first with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

To make the saffron mayonnaise, first soak the saffron in a little hot water for 10 mins. Blend the egg yolks in a food processor and very slowly add the oil a drop at a time until it starts to emulsify. Add the oil more quickly until it reaches mayonnaise consistency. Add the saffron and 1 tbsp of the liquid and blend again. You may find that you need to add more oil at this point to thicken it again. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Fry the arancini in batches at 190C, drain and serve with the saffron mayonnaise dotted on top.

Recipe: Giovanna Ryan