Pea And Spinach Pesto Arancini

To make an interesting starter for our family Christmas meal, I made these pea and spinach pesto arancini. I used asparagus risotto as the base for them.

Pea And Spinach Pesto Arancini
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As I mentioned, I was looking for hotels close to Istanbul airport. The only one that really suits us is the airside hotel. There are so many plus factors to staying in the airport itself. But, before I can make the booking I need to hear back from Turkish Airlines whether we can check in the night before our flight. And then go through security and passport control. Our flight to Zagreb is at 8h05 which is super early if you have to be at the airport 2 hours beforehand. If we were to stay close to the airport we would have to wake up an hour and a half before that. Now, waking up at 4h30 is not my idea of fun. Especially as we will have a long day ahead of us. The flight to Zagreb is just over 2 hours but so is the time change.

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So basically, we arrive 10 minutes after we take off. And given that we will try and go to sleep at our usual time we will have been awake far too long for my liking. With staying airside we can wake up at 6h00 and still have time to have coffee before our flight. And if this all works out we will do our duty free shopping the night before. Once I have heard back from the airline I shall look to see what restaurants we can expect in the departure terminal. And what other experiences we can enjoy to make the evening interesting.

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5 from 1 vote

Pea And Spinach Pesto Arancini

These baked arancini are packed full of flavour
Recipe Category: Italian
All Rights Reserved: An original recipe from Lavender and Lime


For the risotto

  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled, cut in half and finely diced
  • 500 mls water
  • 40 g baby spinach leaves
  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 175 g Arborio rice
  • 100 mls white wine
  • 40 g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 5 g butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

For the arancini

  • 80 g fresh peas, blanched and refreshed
  • 5 g mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 50 g spinach pesto or any other pesto you have
  • 2 egg whites, slackened
  • 80 g bread crumbs


For the risotto

  • Place the carrots, celery, half of the onions and water into a large saucepan
  • Bring the stock to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes
  • Add the spinach and simmer for 2 minutes, then blend the stock with a stick blender until smooth
  • Keep on a low temperature while you start the risotto
  • Place the oil into a large heavy-based non-stick saucepan and heat over a medium temperature
  • Add the rest of the onion, lower the temperature and sauté until soft
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook until soft
  • Then add the rice and cook, stirring gently, until the rice is covered with oil and starts to go opaque
  • Pour in the wine and simmer until the wine is nearly all absorbed
  • Add one ladle of the stock, a pinch of salt and stir to combine
  • Cook on a low simmer until all of the stock is absorbed
  • Continue adding the remaining stock a ladle at a time, stirring each time you add some, until the rice is cooked and has just a little bite when tasted
  • When all of the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat and stir in the cheese, zest and butter
  • Season to taste then set aside to cool

For the arancini

  • Once the risotto has cooled preheat the oven to 160° Celsius
  • Place the peas into a bowl and crush with the back of a fork
  • Add the mint and pesto and stir to combine
  • Season to taste
  • Divide the mixture into 10 and flatten the rice on your left hand (if you are right handed)
  • Place 5mls of the pea and pesto mixture into the middle
  • Shape the rice into a ball
  • Set aside until you have done all of them
  • Dip each ball into the egg white and then into the breadcrumbs
  • When completely coated, place into a lined baking tin
  • Once all the balls have been coated place into the oven for 20 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and serve straight away
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime March 6:

To a life well lived in 2020!

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