Smoked Haddock & Mozzarella Arancini, with Tomato & Basil Sauce

Impress your guests with this simple, yet flavour filled dish which can easily be used as a starter or a main course!

This recipe makes 20 ping pong sized balls.

Prep time: 1 hour (4 hours chill time), Cooking Time: 20 minutes


For the Arancini -

  • 600g fillet of Smoked Haddock

  • 20g Unsalted Butter

  • 350g Risotto Rice

  • 1 White Onion, finely chopped

  • 1 Garlic Clove, pressed or very finely chopped

  • 150ml White Wine

  • 1250ml Vegetable Stock

  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

  • 120g grated Mozzarella

  • 2 Large Eggs, beaten

  • 100g Plain Flour

  • 170g Panko Breadcrumbs

  • 2tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1 litre Vegetable Oil, for frying

  • Salt and Pepper, for seasoning

For the sauce -

  • 2 tins of Chopped Tomatoes

  • 1tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1 Red Onion, finely chopped

  • 1 Garlic Clove, pressed or very finely chopped

  • 1 Red Chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

  • 12 large Basil leaves, finely chopped (alternatively, you can use 2 tsp dried basil)

  • 2tbsp Caster Sugar

  • Salt and Pepper, for seasoning


For the Arancini -

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.

  2. Cut a piece of tin foil around 4 inches longer than your piece of haddock. Lie your haddock flat in the centre of the foil and break the butter into pieces and scatter over the fish along with a little seasoning.

  3. Fold the foil up at the edges and cover the fish, place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes (This could vary depending on the thickness of your piece of fish, cook until it flakes easily). Once cooked, allow to cool outside of the oven and flake the fish evenly.

  4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and set aside.

  5. In a saucepan, simmer your vegetable stock over a medium heat.

  6. In a large saucepan, heat a little olive oil and soften the onion and garlic. Once soft, add in your risotto rice. From this point in the recipe for the risotto, ensure you're constantly moving the mixture in the large saucepan to avoid catching or burning.

  7. Add your white wine to your risotto rice and stir continuously until completely absorbed.

  8. Put one ladle of hot vegetable stock to the risotto rice and stir until completely absorbed. Repeat this multiple times, one ladle at a time, ensuring it is fully absorbed each time until the rice is soft.

  9. Once your risotto is at the desired consistency, gently fold through the flaked haddock, mozzarella and parmesan, then season to taste before removing the pan from the heat.

  10. Pour out the contents of the pan onto the lined baking tray and spread out as evenly as possible. Place in the fridge until completely cooled. (Usually takes around 4 hours - this can be done overnight in preparation for the next day if desired). Discard any unused vegetable stock.

  11. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.

  12. Fill your deep fat fryer with oil and pre-heat to 170°C. Alternatively, you can use a large saucepan; to do this, fill with oil (leaving a gap of at least 2 inches) and heat to 170°C (if you are unable to accurately measure the temperature, heat the oil for around 5 minutes, then drop in a loose breadcrumb - the oil is ready for frying when the breadcrumb floats and has bubbles rapidly forming around it).

  13. Prepare 3 bowls: 1 containing your plain flour, 1 containing your egg and one containing your breadcrumbs.

  14. With damp hands, separate and form the cooled risotto into 20 equal sized balls.

  15. Roll each ball in plain flour and keep to one side.

  16. Next, roll each ball first into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs, making sure they're completely covered. Then place the balls onto a clean baking tray.

  17. In batches of up to 5 balls at a time, carefully fry until golden brown - turning occasionally to get an even colour all around.

  18. Once golden, remove the balls and drain on a piece of kitchen paper then place back onto the baking tray.

  19. When all balls have been fried, turn off the fryer (or remove the pan of oil from the heat and leave to cool completely) and place the baking tray of arancini balls into the oven for 15 minutes.

For the Sauce:

  1. Heat your oil in a pan and add the garlic, onion and chilli. Gently fry to soften.

  2. Once soft, pour in your chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil while stirring occasionally.

  3. Stir through your basil and season to taste using salt, pepper and caster sugar.

  4. To create a smooth sauce, remove from the heat and blend with a stick blender (alternatively, you can push your tomato sauce through a sieve). This is optional - if you prefer a chunky sauce, skip this step!

Top Tip: This recipe is easily adjustable and you can experiment with the flavours of your arancini. You could also make the balls smaller and reduce your cooking times to make a hot canape packed with flavour!