12verde gigante olives (see note)150 gmTaleggio, rind trimmed50 gm(1/3 cup) plain flour2eggs, lightly beaten140 gm(2 cups) fresh breadcrumbsFor deep frying:vegetable oilRisotto750 ml(3 cups) chicken stock2½ tbspextra-virgin olive oil50 gmflat pancetta, finely diced1onion, finely chopped4cloves of garlic, finely chopped200 gm(1 cup) carnaroli rice125 ml(½ cup) dry white wine50 gmfinely grated parmesanFresh tomato sauce3(about 400gm) very ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeds removed, coarsely chopped80 ml(1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil3sprigs each of thyme, basil and oregano1clove of garlic, finely chopped2 tspaged red wine vinegar
For risotto, bring stock to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add pancetta, onion and garlic, cook until onions are translucent (8-10 minutes). Add rice and stir for 1 minute to coat the grains. Deglaze pan with wine, then add a ladleful of stock at a time, stirring occasionally and ensuring stock is absorbed before adding more, until stock is completely absorbed and rice is creamy and cooked al dente (35-40 minutes). Stir through parmesan and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread risotto on a tray to cool, then refrigerate for 2 hours.
For tomato sauce, combine ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until tomato breaks down (15-20 minutes). Season to taste and set aside.
Using a sharp paring knife, remove olive flesh from pits in a single piece. Place a thumbnail-sized piece of Taleggio in the centre of each olive and remould olive around cheese. (The olive won’t wrap all the way around.)
Divide risotto into 12 balls, flatten, and place a Taleggio-stuffed olive in the centre of each. Mould risotto around each olive until completely enclosed.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or a large, deep saucepan to 170C. Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Roll balls in flour, dip in egg, coat in breadcrumbs and deep-fry in batches until golden (4-5 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper, and serve with tomato sauce to the side.
Note Verde gigante olives are sold in jars at Italian delicatessens. You can substitute with other large green olives.