‘Scoccini’ (scotch-ini): when scotch eggs meet arancini

This easter enjoy your scotch eggs with an alternative risotto shell. A recipe that smashes together two all-time crowd favourites, British scotch eggs and Sicilian arancini, into something quite spectacular. The method looks lengthy, but bare with it – it’s actually pretty simple and the end result is worth it. I challenge any gastro pub bar snack with these mighty cannon balls. Inspector Montalbano eat your heart out :) Happy Easter everyone!

If like me you’re a huge fan of arancini, the gem of Sicilian street food, you’ll welcome some creative ideas. From the sauce you serve them with, to the contents of the rice balls. Mozzarella, if you’re feeling indulgent, or how about smoked lardons? Fill your boots – this recipe will help you as a rough guide along the way.

I decided to kid myself and give these a healthy and vibrant twist by using beetroot in the mixture. I served them up with a side of lemon and dill sour cream, but a nice arrabiata sauce, or garlic mayo would be awesome with them too.

You’ll see the method has a few steps to it – done sequentially it’d be time consuming. I’ve used a few shortcuts so as you can pretty much do most of it in parallel and be stuffing your face with these as soon as possible. The biggest challenge you’ll face is resisting the urge to eat most of the risotto along the way. If you can manage that, then you’ll be impressed with the end result! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Enjoy!

 



Makes 4 scoccini. Prep time 20 mins; cook time 90 mins.

Ingredients

For the rice:
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
250g arborio rice
150 ml white wine
500g fresh beetroot, peeled and chopped into wedges
800ml hot vegetable stock
handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
50g parmesan, freshly grated

a few glugs of olive oil

For the eggs and coating:
5 free range eggs
100g breadcrumbs
100g plain flour
2 tsp smoked paprika, optional
seasoning

For frying:
corn oil or alternative (2-3 litres)

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180C. Toss the beetroot wedges in olive oil and season. Spread on a baking tray and place in the oven for 45mins. When done, finely chop, or ideally blitz in a food processor, then set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large frying pan heat a few glugs of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and soften for 3-4 mins. SautĂ© the rice for 3 mins over a medium heat. Pour in the wine and cook off for 5 mins.
  • Now for a shortcut. Pour in all the stock (as opposed to adding it in bit by bit) and leave to simmer for 20 mins without stirring – if you stir even just once, then you’ll have to stir periodically. Avoid it completely and you can free yourself up to do the rest of the prep as the risotto reduces. 5 mins before the risotto is done, stir in the chopped beetroot until you have a uniform and vibrant purple colour throughout. When the risotto is fully reduced and still a little al dente, take off the heat and toss in the parmesan giving it all a vigorous mix. Stir in the fresh dill then set aside to cool.
  • Now onto the method for hard boiled eggs with perfect runny yolks. Fill a deep pan with cold water and add the eggs. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil the eggs for 3 minutes then drain immediately, leaving the eggs in the pan and place under cold running water for 5 mins to cool. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, carefully peel and set aside.
  • Divide the risotto mixture into 4 equal portions. Now for a bit of construction. Do this for each of the 4 eggs. Take a large piece of cling film, dollop one portion of rice in the centre and flatten. Place an egg on the rice patty and carefully wrap the clingfilm upwards, over the egg so as to completely coat it. Give the film a twist to make a tight pouch to hold in shape. Place in the freezer for 20 mins.
  • Prepare 3 bowls. In one place the flour, in the other the breadcrumbs with paprika and seasoning, and finally in the 3rd bowl a beaten egg.
  • Take each scoccini ball, dust in flour, dunk in the beaten egg and finally roll in the breadcrumbs, then chill in the freezer for another 10 mins.
  • Heat up the oil to 190C in a deep frying pan or a deep fat fryer, and fry the balls to a deep golden brown colour. Drain and wrap in kitchen roll to soak off any excess oil.
  • Allow to cool a little then serve. Slice in half to reveal all the amazing layers and a perfectly runny yolk. Serve up with a dip of your choice.

Enjoy!

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