Recipe: Michael Van de Elzen’s Lamb and Pumpkin Arancini Balls

These golden, risotto-filled morsels can be served as an entrée or a light lunch.

Recipe: Michael Van de Elzen

Makes: 10-12
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

This recipe does take a long time to prep and cook but trust me, it’s so worth the effort. You’ll often find arancini served as an entrée in Italian eateries with simple flavours like mushroom and even seafood. They make tasty finger food, a light luncheon with a salad, or even a dinner with extra vegetables.

Tip: Double the recipe – the balls freeze really well and can be cooked straight from the freezer.


half a small pumpkin
250g boneless lamb shoulder chops
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1½ cups risotto rice
2 cups warm vegetable stock
2 cups cooked pumpkin
½ cup finely grated good quality parmesan
2 tbsp flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko crumbs
black pepper
canola oil for deep frying


Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Peel, deseed, and cut the pumpkin into large chunks. Put in a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook until soft, drain, and cover with a tea towel for 5 minutes to dry out. Mash pumpkin until smooth and set aside.

Season the lamb with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan until just coloured. Wrap in tinfoil, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually add the stock, allowing the rice to absorb it between each addition.

More stories you might like:
Kate Coughlan tries her hand at cheesemaking at the Whitestone Cheese factory

Once all the stock is added, and the rice is just cooked, mix in the cooked pumpkin and parmesan. Season to taste and lay the risotto mix out on a large tray. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until cold.

Heat the canola oil in a deep fryer to 180°C. Remove the lamb from the oven, rest for 5 minutes, then shred back into the cooking juices. Roll the rice into 10-12 balls, inserting equal amounts of shredded lamb into the centre of each one. Coat each ball in flour, then egg, then panko crumbs.

Deep fry until golden and serve with Dijon Salsa Verde.

Dijon Salsa Verde

Makes: 1 cup


½ cup basil leaves, chopped
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp baby capers, drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Place basil, parsley, capers, garlic, and lemon zest in a bowl, then add enough olive oil to make the mixture wet. Add parmesan, remaining olive oil, avocado oil, and mustard, then lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Store in a jar in the fridge until ready to use – it will last up to 5 days.

NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
Discuss This Article
Send this to a friend