These classic Italian risotto balls with a filling of veal ragù (you can also fill them with small pieces of mozzarella) are a great antipasto. The only problem is they’re so delicious, it’s easy to eat a few too many before the meal!






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (107 votes)


  • 500 ml olive oil for deep-frying
  • plain flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups dried breadcrumbs


Veal ragù

  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 200 g minced veal
  • sea salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 400 ml chicken stock



  • splash of olive oil
  • 60 g butter, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 litre chicken stock, warmed
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 80 g parmigiano reggiano, grated

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the veal ragù, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the carrot and celery and fry until soft. Add the veal and stir until well browned. Taste for salt and pepper, then add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the wine and simmer for 2–3 minutes, then add the stock. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The ragù should be thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

To make the risotto, heat the olive oil and half the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the rice and sauté for 1–2 minutes, then pour in the warm chicken stock. Add the saffron and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered with a lid, and stirring from time to time, until the rice is cooked (about 20 minutes). Finish by stirring in the parmigiano reggiano and the remaining butter until well combined. Pour into a shallow dish and set aside to cool.

To make the arancini balls, take a heaped tablespoon of risotto and roll it in the palm of your hand to form a ball. Push a hole in one side and fill with a teaspoon of ragù. Seal the hole and roll again, ensuring the ragù is completely enclosed. Continue making balls with the remaining risotto and ragù.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or deep-fryer until very hot. Roll the balls in flour, then egg, and then breadcrumbs, and fry in batches for about 4 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.