"My dad used to cook provolone for us in the mornings when we were kids. To this day I love the taste, the texture and the smell of the cooked cheese." - Joseph Vitale, Bottega, Melbourne, Vic
- 50 ml olive oil
- ¼ onion, finely chopped
- 200 gm arborio rice
- 750 ml hot chicken stock (3 cups)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
- 50 gm parmesan, finely grated
- 30 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 40 gm provolone piccante
- For coating: plain flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 250 gm fine soft white breadcrumbs, for coating
- For deep-frying: sunflower oil
- To serve: baby basil leaves and aioli
- 1Heat oil in a saucepan over low heat, add onion, stir occasionally until tender (3-5 minutes), add rice, stir to coat, then add stock, little by little, until rice is slightly overcooked and stock is absorbed (18-20 minutes). Add thyme, parmesan and butter and stir until creamy (1-2 minutes), remove from heat. Meanwhile, finely grate 15g provolone, add to rice mixture, spread over a tray and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill (1-1½ hours).
- 2Cut remaining provolone into 5mm cubes and set aside. Shape walnut-sized balls of rice mixture with your hands, then push a provolone cube into centre of each, pressing rice around to enclose completely. Roll rice balls in flour, then beaten egg and finally breadcrumbs, shaking off excess in between, ensuring they are completely coated. Refrigerate on a tray to chill (30 minutes).
- 3Preheat oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 200C. Deep-fry arancini in batches, turning occasionally, until golden (3-5 minutes; be careful as hot oil may spit). Scatter with baby basil and serve hot with aioli.