Pumpkin Risotto Balls. Rice doesn't get much cuter than these bite-sized nuggets!
• 600 millilitres vegetable stock
• 200 grams pumpkin, coarsely grated
• 250 grams arborio rice
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 50 grams parmesan, finely grated
• 100 grams Cheetos
• 1 egg
• 100 grams plain flour
• 100 millilitres water
• 200 grams mozzarella, made into 10 x 1.5 centimetre cubes and the rest coarsely grated
• 2 litres vegetable oil for deep frying
• 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 12 small sage leaves, to decorate
1. Put the vegetable stock, pumpkin, rice and salt into a large saute pan and bring to a simmer. Cook down, stirring often, until the rice is cooked and sticky and the liquid has dissolved - around 25 minutes. Stir in the parmesan, then tip onto a shallow tray and leave to cool for 20 minutes before chilling for one hour.
2. Blitz the Cheetos to a fine crumb then put into a shallow dish. Beat the egg, then add the flour gradually and finally the water until you have a smooth, thick paste.
3. Bring the chilled rice out of the fridge. Stir through the grated mozzarella, and divide into 10 mounds. With slightly damp hands, take one mound and shape it into a ball. Push a square of mozzarella into the middle and close up the hole. Squeeze it into a firm ball then rest, while you shape the remaining arancini.
4. Prepare a clean tray. Dip the arancini first into the flour batter, then into the breadcrumbs. Turn it over so it’s completely covered, and then put it onto a clean tray. Repeat with the rest. Chill for 20 minutes while you heat a large saucepan half full with vegetable oil.
5. When the oil reaches 180C, gently lower 2 or 3 arancini in. Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown, then drain on kitchen paper while you cook the rest.
6. Pipe very thin drizzles of mayonnaise across the top of the arancini to look like the pattern on a pumpkin. Wrap a sage leaf around a cocktail stick to roll it into a thin tube. Make a hole in the top of the arancini to hold the sage ‘stalk’ and insert it into the top. Serve immediately.