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Olive and Taleggio arancini with fresh tomato sauce

Olives and Taleggio come together for the perfect appetiser.

By Lisa Featherby
  • Serves 12
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 20 mins cooking plus chilling
Olive and Taleggio arancini with fresh tomato sauce
Olive and Taleggio arancini with fresh tomato sauce


  • 12 verde gigante olives (see note)
  • 150 gm Taleggio, rind trimmed
  • 50 gm (1/3 cup) plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 140 gm (2 cups) fresh breadcrumbs
  • For deep frying: vegetable oil
  • 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock
  • 2½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50 gm flat pancetta, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200 gm (1 cup) carnaroli rice
  • 125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine
  • 50 gm finely grated parmesan
Fresh tomato sauce
  • 3 (about 400gm) very ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 sprigs each of thyme, basil and oregano
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp aged red wine vinegar


  • 1
    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.
  • 2
    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.
  • 3
    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.)
  • 4
    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.
  • 5
    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.


Verde gigante olives are sold in jars at Italian delicatessens. You can substitute with other large green olives.

  • Author: Lisa Featherby