Tonight’s Dinner: Arancini from “Polpo”

CBAMAranciniWhat We’re Eating Again: Arancini

From: “Poplo” – March 2013  (The original post can be found here.)

Why: This is a great way to use up leftover risotto. Unfortunately, in this house, we don’t have leftover risotto that often. But when we do, we try to use it this way.

Top Tips: Although I used fine corn meal this time, I dipping them in breadcrumbs also works. This is a real winner, particularly when you have people around for dinner. However, it’s really just an appetizer. You wouldn’t really be able to serve this as a main course.

Recipe Link: Google Books has kindly indexed this recipe. Highly recommended. 

Tonight’s Dinner: Arancini from “Polpo”

“Pork & Beef Polpette with Basic Tomato Sauce” from “Polpo”

Tim: You made the spicy hot ones, right?

Maureen: Ha ha ha.

Nicholas (9): NOOOOOOOO! You know how I feel about spicy food.

Tim: Ha ha. I’m just trolling you.

Nicholas: I do taste some spice in these.


Maureen: I don’t know why. There’s no hot spices  in there. (Editor’s Note: This is a TOTAL LIE. There is a pinch of chilli flakes and a fair amount of black pepper. Those parents in the audience, however, will understand why I did not divulge this to my spice-averse children.)

Andrew (13): I think the meatballs and the tomato sauce are very nice.

Maureen: This tomato sauce is delicious. You need to do some forward planning with it though, since it takes at least an hour and a half to make. Today it cooked for a little longer than that, which probably made it even better. I like how you use a combination of fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes, it gives it a much more interesting taste.

Tim: Was it complicated to make?

Maureen: Not at all. It just takes a lot of time. I think the meatballs are also great. They call themm polpette, but I can’t help myself. They are meatballs to me. I think I have found my go-to meatball recipe.

Tim: This meal is a triumph!

Maureen: I agree. This is absolutely full of yum. Would you like me to make it again?

All: Yes!

“Pork & Beef Polpette with Basic Tomato Sauce” from “Polpo”

“Burrata with Lentils & Basil Oil” from “Polpo”

Maureen: Another Meat Free Monday special.

Andrew (13): I’m sorry, but I have to say this: It could be presented better.

Maureen: Can you see me rolling my eyes? Are you catching that from across the table? And what, dear sir, is the problem?

Andrew: It just looks like a lump of things.

Maureen: Frankly, I think it looks good. Do you see how I artfully displayed the basil leaves? Maybe you should eat it, rather than just critiquing on appearance.


Andrew: I’ve actually tried it. It’s OK. But it could be better.

Nicholas (9) (Taking a spoonful): Nope. I don’t like it. But I’ve never liked lentils anyway.

Maureen (Turning to Tim): Resident Lentil Lover, what do you say?

Tim: I like it. But I’d be interested to see what it’s like with burrata rather than mozzarella.

Maureen: Yes. He says that we should definitely seek out burrata. But the problem was there was none to be found anywhere in the neighbourhood this afternoon. If we’re going to have this again, I would need to engage in some forward planning to get the right cheese. But this time, we’ll have to make do with mozzarella.

Tim: It’s still good, though. The mustard dressing is nice.

Maureen: Yes, I like it. But I told you beforehand that the boys wouldn’t like this, and I was right.

Nicholas: I’m not so sure that Meat Free Monday is a good idea.

Maureen: Too bad. I’m sorry you don’t like this, but we’re going to continue with Meat Free Monday. It’s better for us, and for the planet. We’ll have pasta or risotto next week for Meat Free Monday, I promise. Then I think you would like it better.

“Burrata with Lentils & Basil Oil” from “Polpo”

“John Dory with Orange, Fine Herbs & Pink Peppercorns” from “Polpo”

Maureen: Fish Friday!

Nicholas (9): I’m not so sure about Fish Friday anymore.

Maureen: What do you mean? We’re doing our bit for the planet by eating less meat, and we’re doing our bit for ourselves, by eating more fish, which is good for us.

Andrew (13): I do have fish and chips every Friday at school.

Maureen: Well, sure, but it’s good that we’re doing it as a family too. What do you think?

Tim: It’s delicious.


Maureen: I think this is the best thing I’ve made so far out of the cookbook. I might be swooning right now. But I can’t tell if it’s because I like the recipe, or if the John Dory is just an excellent fish to eat.

Tim: Could be either. Or both.

Maureen: The woman at the fishmonger said John Dory is her favourite fish.

Tim: I think the pink peppercorns sort of overwhelm it.

Maureen: I’m not sure I agree. They look pretty, though.

Andew: I think it’s good.

Maureen: Should I make it again?

Andrew: Sure, I suppose so.

Tim: Yes. I think it’s nice. But maybe less peppercorns next time.

Nicholas: I’m not sure.

Maureen: I think it’s utterly delicious. We’re definitely having this again.

“John Dory with Orange, Fine Herbs & Pink Peppercorns” from “Polpo”

“Braised Scallops, Pancetta & Peas” from “Polpo”

Tim: I would like to note for the record that Andrew’s bowl is still 80 percent full.

Andrew (13): It’s good. I’m making progress on it.

TIm: Nicholas is making good progress, though.

Nicholas (9): I thought it was alright. I’m trying to find the pork.

Andrew: What’s in it? Is there pork in there?

Maureen: Yes, there’s pork. If we want to be technical, they are cubes of pancetta. The white round things are scallops.


Andrew: OK. Good to know.

Maureen: I thought this was nice. It seems very fresh, with all of the green vegetables in it.

Tim: Yes, but on the whole it seems a bit bland.

Maureen: You’re right. As Andrew would say, it’s lacking something. I don’t know what, but something.

Tim: I think there’s better ways to serve scallops.

Maureen: Yes. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t brilliant either.

“Braised Scallops, Pancetta & Peas” from “Polpo”

“Arancini” from “Polpo”

Maureen: I finally made arancini successfully! Hooray!

Tim: I made arancini once.

Maureen: You did? I don’t remember that.

Nicholas (9): Pictures or it didn’t happen, Dad. You know the rules.

Maureen: What do you think?

Tim: They are super-cool-awesome!


Maureen: Thanks. I am pretty pleased with them. What do you think boys?

Andrew (13): Eh. (Shrugs shoulders, to Maureen’s dismay.)

Nicholas: They’re OK, I guess.

Tim: Did you dip them in egg?

Maureen: I didn’t have to. The risotto was so creamy that you didn’t have to dip it in egg to make the polenta stick. Continue reading ““Arancini” from “Polpo””

“Arancini” from “Polpo”

“Butternut Risotto” from “Polpo”

Maureen: Another one for Meat Free Monday. What do you think?

Andrew (13): It’s nice.

Nicholas (9): I”m not so sure.

Maureen: I think it’s great. It was a total faff to make it, compared to other risottos I’ve made, but it’s still good. I needed to make my own vegetarian stock. The next time I make this, I’ll just use standard vegetable stock, like I always do.


Andrew: Actually, the more I eat it, the less sure about it I am.

Nicholas: Yes, I agree. I don’t think I like it.

Maureen: What’s not to like about it?

Andrew: Well, the butternut squash. (Maureen looks over and realises that Andrew is eating only the rice and is eating AROUND the butternut squash. Nicholas starts to do the same.)

Maureen: How could you not like butternut squash? It’s great.

Andrew: I just don’t, that’s all.

Nicholas: Me neither.

Maureen: Obviously you take after your father in that regard. He doesn’t like it either. I think you’re all crazy. It’s good and I like it.

Andrew: I like the other risotto you make better.

Maureen: Which one?

Andrew: Any of them.

Nicholas: Yes, any risotto but this one would be good the next time you make risotto.

Maureen: OK. So not a firm family favourite then. If I make it again, I’ll make it for myself.

Cook’s Notes: As noted above, they want you to make the vegetable stock yourself while you’re roasting the butternut squash. Frankly, I don’t think it was worth the effort. In fact, I found the stock somewhat lacking in flavour and ending up adding a dash of vegetable stock bouillon just so it wouldn’t taste of water.

However, I did glean one excellent tip from this recipe. In the past, whenever I roasted butternut squash inevitably some of it ended up burned. To counteract this, Polpo recommends covering the squash with foil when you’re roasting it. It was a perfect solution, and no squash was burned in the making of this recipe.

“Butternut Risotto” from “Polpo”