Rachel Allen shares her recipe for this delicious dish


  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 350 g (12oz) risotto rice
  • 1 l (13/4 pints) chicken stock or fish stock
  • 200 ml (7fl oz) white wine
  • juice of 1/2–1 lemon
  • 50 g (2oz) crème fraîche
  • 25 g (1oz) butter
  • 2 tblsp chopped dill
  • 170 g (6oz) smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 75 g (3oz) parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 25 g (1oz) parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 50 g (2oz) breadcrumbs
  • 4–6 tbsp olive oil
  • For the crème fraîche sauce:
  • 250 g (9oz) crème fraîche
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • 1 tblsp chopped dill
  • 1 tblsp chopped chives
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Place the olive oil in large saucepan on a low heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic, then cover the pan with a lid and cook for 8–10 minutes or until soft but not browned. Turn the heat up to medium, add the rice and stir everything together for about 2 minutes or until well coated. Heat through the stock in another saucepan and keep at a very gentle simmer.
  • Pour the white wine into the rice mixture. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer and reduce slightly for about 3 minutes. Add a ladleful of stock and half the lemon juice to the rice and continue to stir until most of the stock has been absorbed, then add another ladleful and continue stirring. Continue in this way until all of the stock has been incorporated and the rice is creamy and just al dente – it shouldn’t take more than 25 minutes.
  • Stir in the crème fraîche, butter, dill, smoked salmon and 50g (2oz) of the Parmesan cheese, then season with salt and pepper and more lemon juice if necessary. Take the pot off the heat: the risotto should be quite wet and loose in consistency, not thick and porridge-like. Allow to cool completely.
  • Place the cooled risotto in a large bowl and stir in the Parmesan until well mixed. Spread out the breadcrumbs on a plate.
  • Use your hands to roll the risotto mixture into about 30 balls each the size of a ping-pong ball, then roll in the breadcrumbs to coat, and place on a tray. Put the risotto balls in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight, if you like.
  • In a bowl, combine the crème fraiche, lemon juice and herbs to make a dipping sauce, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To cook the arancini, place a large frying pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add a few of the arancini. Fry for about 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over.
  • When cooked, transfer to a serving plate lined with kitchen paper to allow the arancini to drain, then repeat with the remaining risotto balls, adding more oil as needed. Serve warm with the crème fraîche dip.

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