In anticipation of sunnier spring weather, as lockdown restrictions slowly begin to ease, chef Emily Roux has collaborated with Lexus to produce a collection of picnic recipes. Head chef at Caractére, a contemporary European restaurant blending French and Italian ingredients and techniques, Emily Roux’s picnic recipes include a selection of snacks such as cacio e pepe arancini.
A take on the Roman pasta dish, cacio e pepe (pecorino and pepper), Emily Roux’s cacio e pepe arancini recipe borrows from the Venetian tradition of breading and deep-frying leftover risotto. Here, the sauce element of the pasta dish is combined with risotto rice and made into arancini that’s portable, filling, and easy to eat without need for additional sauce or seasoning.
- This is a very versatile recipe that can be tweaked for each season (why not try asparagus arancini in spring or fresh peas arancini in summer).
- Once breaded you can keep the cacio e pepe arancini in the freezer and fry them as and when you need. Perfect for a last-minute adventure.
For the risotto
- 300 g carnaroli rice
- 70 g unsalted butter diced
- 80 g grated pecorino
- 50 g grated parmesan
- 2 g crushed black peppercorns
- 500 ml water to cook the rice
For the breading
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 4 heaped tbsp breadcrumbs
- 3 heaped tbsp plain white flour
- Salt to taste
- 500 ml sunflower oil to shallow fry
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
- Toast the rice in a large saucepan (no need for butter or oil at this stage) stirring continuously until the rice itself is hot. Add a generous pinch of salt followed by the first ladle of water. Keep stirring vigorously. Let the rice absorb the water before adding another ladle full. Cook on a gentle simmer adding more water as and when needed.
- After a total of 18 minutes, all water should be completely absorbed by the rice. Remove the risotto from the heat and vigorously beat in the butter, pecorino, parmesan and peppercorns with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring until all ingredients are fully melted and the risotto is sleek and glossy.
- Pour the cooked risotto in a large shallow dish/container and leave to cool (ideally overnight in the fridge).
- When completely cooled and firm use your hands to create and shape small rice balls of 5-6cm in diameter. Once all the rice balls are shaped, put the breading ingredients into three shallow dishes. Then repeatedly dredge each ball in flour, followed by beaten eggs and finally coat in crisp breadcrumb.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan. When the oil is nice and hot, shallow fry the arancini balls until crisp and golden brown on the outside.
- Once cooked, remove from the pan and place on absorbent paper to remove any excess oil.
- A very versatile recipe that can be tweaked for each season (why not try asparagus arancini in spring or fresh peas arancini in summer).
- Once breaded you can keep them in the freezer and fry them as and when you need. Perfect for a last-minute adventure.
Recipe credit: Lexus and leading chef Emily Roux have put together tasty recipes and helpful tips to enjoy the perfect Easter picnic.