Pea and Leek Arancini

Happy St David’s Day!

Of course, it wouldn’t be St David’s Day without tons of Welsh Cakes and a dish made out of leeks.

You’ll be glad to know that I’ve pretty much covered all bases today, I’ve had more Welsh cakes than is healthy and I’m serving up these delicious Arancini balls for dinner.

If you don’t know what Arancini is, it’s an Italian dish (I know it’s not very Welsh for St David’s day the weather has been way too nice to make cawl) that’s essentially fried rice balls. They’re typically made from leftover risotto and you can experiment with them by adding different flavours or stuffing them with tomatoes or cheese.

Now, let me tell why I love this arancini so much.

  • It’s delicious
  • It has peas in it
  • It’s a cook once, eat twice meal so perfect for busy lives
  • It’s kind of fancy without being too fancy
  • It is delicious the next day when cold (just like good pizza)

When it comes to arancini you need to make the risotto first, leave the leftovers in the fridge overnight so that it gets all sticky and firm and THEN you’re ready to make your arancini balls. If you try to do it whilst the risotto is freshly cooked or still warm, it’ll fall to pieces.

When it comes to the size, that’s up to you. Personally, I make mine Maltese style and go big. But if you’re having them as a starter or as a snack, a golf ball size works well.

So first your risotto – what you’ll need:
(Serves 2)

• 300g arborio rice

• 1 leek, finely chopped

• 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

• A little olive oil

• A hearty glug of white wine

• 500ml vegetable stock

• A large handful of garden peas, frozen are fine

A large handful of parmesan cheese, grated

What to do…

Begin by frying the leek and garlic together in a little olive oil. Once the leek is translucent add the rice and stir until it has been coated with oil. At this point add the wine and cook until it has been absorbed. Repeat this process with the vegetable stock.

Once the rice has become soft but retains a little bite, add the peas and cook for a few minutes longer. Stir a little oil and parmesan and remove from the heat. Pop a lid on and allow it to stand for 2-3 minutes – this is the most critical part of the risotto making process. Serve immediately.

Then part two! Your arancini balls (how many you make depends on how much risotto you’ve left and also how big you roll your balls)

What you’ll need…

  • Leftover Leek and Pea risotto (about 300g)
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3 tbsp flour


Preheat the oven to 180ºC

Place the breadcrumbs evenly on a baking tray and bake for around 5 minutes to toast

Place the flour and oat milk into separate dishes in preparation

Roll the leftover risotto into balls just smaller than a golf ball

Coat them one by one in the flour, then the egg then roll them in the toasted breadcrumbs

Repeat this until all your balls are made then add them to a non stick pan with 3tbsp rapeseed oil on a high heat

Keep an eye on the arancini in the pan, turning when golden brown

Once cooked add them to a place on top of kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil

I served with a salad and some fresh out of the oven garlic bread (because carbs are life).

The one thing I love about this food is that you can experiment with it, add a bit of extra wine or some different herbs – it’s so versatile. The balls also last a couple of days in the fridge and are delicious cold.

A big thanks to the British Leek Growers Association for providing me with all the ingredients to create this dish.

Author: Rachael

I'm a journalist and creative consultant. I write about how busy women (just like you) can live, work and eat - better.

24 thoughts on “Pea and Leek Arancini”

  1. Oh yes. Arancini balls are pure comfort food. Thinking the Welsh twist sounds perfect. I wonder if there is sweet arancini balls made with pudding rice? Bet they’re lovely.

  2. I’ve never made Arancini on my own but your recipe is so simple and clear, so I might just give this a go

  3. These look amazing! We make risotto quite often so I will be trying this out. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Ive never tried that dish before. It looks so easy to make and so delicious! Ill need to make it soon.

  5. OMGeeeee! This recipe sounds delicious! I’d love to give it a whirl sometime, and it seems pretty simple to follow (so even a crap cook like me wouldn’t balls it up LOL) x

  6. Oh I have made Arancini before without even realising it was a ‘thing’! So, so tasty! Yours look a lot neater than mine did haha!

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