Chef's Recipes

Guy Grossi: Arancini di riso al zafferano (Saffron arancini)

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for arancini di riso al zafferano (Saffron arancini) by Guy Grossi from Merchant restaurant in Melbourne.

By Guy Grossi
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking plus chilling
  • Serves 8
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Guy Grossi: Arancini di riso al zafferano (Saffron arancini)
"I've given you a risotto recipe here to make fresh for the arancini, but these little fried treats are also a wonderful way to use up leftover risotto. Arancini can be made in a variety of sizes, so they can be used as an antipasto or cicchetti or larger as a full course."


  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch of saffron, or to taste
  • 400 gm arborio rice
  • 1 litre chicken stock (4 cups)
  • 80 gm parmesan, finely grated
  • For deep-frying: olive oil
  • 200 gm buffalo mozzarella, torn into 1cm pieces
  • 200 gm plain flour, for dusting (1 1/3 cups)
  • 5 eggs, beaten, for coating
  • 200 gm panko crumbs, for coating (see note)


  • 1
    Heat olive oil and half the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and saffron and sauté until onion is translucent (10 minutes). Add rice and sauté until toasted (1-2 minutes). Add stock, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and stir occasionally until rice is al dente (15-20 minutes). Add parmesan and remaining butter, season to taste and stir until butter melts. Pour onto a tray and refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).
  • 2
    Preheat oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 170C. Roll golf ball-sized pieces of rice mixture with your hands. Push a hole in the base, fill with a piece of mozzarella and roll again to enclose cheese. Roll in flour, then beaten egg, then panko crumbs, shaking off excess. Deep-fry in batches, turning occasionally, until golden (3-4 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper, season with sea salt and serve warm.


Note Panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs, are available from Japanese grocers. If unavailable, substitute dried breadcrumbs. This recipe is from the March 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
Drink Suggestion: A Prosecco from Valdobbiadene or Conegliano. Drink suggestion by Mark Protheroe

  • Author: Guy Grossi