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Cicchetti – Italian Small Plates – Recipes

Italian Cicchetti Recipes

Our cookery classes are as much about learning to cook as they are a sociable experience. We hope you enjoyed your evening and are ready to recreate the meals at home. The recipes work really well as delicious dinners and make a great combination for dinner party ideas. 

We Cooked: Polpette in Pomodoro Sauce, Mozarella Arancini, Aubergines with Goat Cheese

Mozzarella Arancini 

Ingredients – serves 4:

For the risotto:

  • – 1 x small white onion
  • – 2 x garlic cloves
  • – 240g x risotto rice
  • – 800ml x vegetable or chicken stock
  • – 80g x parmesan cheese
  • – 50g x butter 
  • – 125ml x white wine
  • – zest of 1 lemon
  • Optional herbs: Oregano or Thyme

For the filling:

  • – 1 x mozzarella ball, ripped into 12

To coat:

  • – 2 x eggs, beaten
  • – 100g x plain flour
  • – 200g x panko breadcrumbs


  1. Start by making the risotto. This needs to be cooked and chilled before the arancini can be made, so give yourself time to do it in advance, ideally cook a day ahead.
  2. Finely dice the onion, make a paste from the garlic and zest the lemon. 
  3. Add a squeeze of oil to a large pan over a medium heat. Add half the butter and allow to melt before adding the onion.
  4. Cook onion for a few minutes until soft, then add the garlic paste. 
  5. Give the garlic a minute to cook before adding in the rice. It’s important to toast the rice for a minute or two. 
  6. Add the wine and give it a stir. Allow it to bubble and reduce down until the pan is almost dry, then add enough stock to cover the rice. Stir occasionally and top up with stock whenever the pan starts to dry out. 
  7. The rice will need about 20 minutes to cook. You may or may not use all of the stock. If you run out but the rice isn’t cooked, use water in place of stock to avoid it becoming too salty. 
  8. Once the rice is cooked, it is no longer chalky, but still has a bite to it. Try the rice to check. Stir in the parmesan, herbs, lemon zest and remaining butter. Taste to check the seasoning.
  9. Spread the rice over a baking tray or large plate to cool, the transfer to a fridge to keep cold. 

To make the arancini:

  1. Tear the mozzarella into 12 pieces and place in a bowl. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.
  2. For even sized arancini, weigh your risotto into 12 equal portions.  Or, just scoop some rice into you hand and place some of the mozzarella mix into the middle of the rice. Form a ball around the filling and roll in your hands to cover the filing completely. Repeat with all of the risotto.
  3. Set up your pane station with a bowl of flour, then a bowl of beaten eggs, then a bowl of breadcrumbs. Dunk your rice balls first into the flour, then the egg and finally the panko. 

To cook:

  1. Deep fry in oil heated to 180 degrees until golden brown and hot throughout- about 8 minutes.
  2. Shallow fry in a frying pan with hot oil. Place the arancini into the oil and cook until golden brown, and then roll over to cook another side. Repeat until the whole ball is golden brown and crispy- about 8 -10 minutes.
  3. Air fry by spraying the balls with oil and placing into a pre-heated air fryer at 190. Cook for 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.

Garlic Aioli 

Ingredients – serves 4:

You can use ready-made mayo, add the lemon and garlic with the herbs..or if time is on your side.

  • – 1 x egg yolk
  • – 50ml x extra virgin olive oil
  • – 150ml x olive or rapeseed oil
  • – 1 x garlic clove
  • – 1/2 x lemon
  • – Handful of parsley and basil


  1. Combine the egg, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the rapeseed or light olive oil, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  2. Slowly add in the extra virgin oil and season to taste. 
  3. Add roughly chopped herbs and blend through the garlic mayo.

Grilled Aubergine Rolls with Goat Cheese

Any soft cheeses work, you can replace with dairy-free alternatives if you are plant based.

Ingredients – Serves 4:

  • – 100g soft goat’s cheese
  • – 1 long aubergine
  • – 1 lemon zest and juice
  • – 1/2 a fresh chilli
  • – 1 bunch of parsley
  • – 1 sprig of basil
  • – 30g x grated parmesan
  • – Sun blushed tomatoes – 1 per roll
  • – Olive oil
  • – salt


  1. Trim the aubergines and slice lengthways into 4mm thick slices. Brush the slices generously with oil. 
  2. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat until smoking. Add the aubergine slices and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until charred and soft.
  3. In a bowl, mix the goats cheese and paremsan with the herbs, lemon zest, and chilli
  4. Spread the filling over the aubergines, place 1 piece of sun-blushed tomato on top, roll and serve with black olive tapenade. 

Vegan cream cheese – this is more flavoursome than some of the ready-made options


  1. – 200g of vegan cheddar, chopped into smaller pieces
  2. – 100g of firm tofu
  3. – 100ml of oatly cream or similar
  4. -salt and pepper to taste
  5. – 1 small clove of garlic. crushed


Place all the ingredients into a blender and whizz until smooth and the texture is similar to cream cheese.

Black Olive Tapenade


  • – 280g pitted black olives 
  • – 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • – 1 small tin anchovy fillets (omit, if you don’t eat, you would add capers or extra salt)
  • – 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • – small handful of chopped parsley
  • – salt to taste


  1. In a blender add the olives, garlic and anchovy and blend, then add olive oil one tablespoon at a time and blend until you reach desired density.  (taste and add a pinch or two of salt if needed).  

Venetian polpette (meatballs)

Ingredients: Will make a portion for 2 people

  • – 80g Beef Mince
  • – 80g minced pork
  • – Salt & Pepper
  • – 1 Clove Garlic – smashed into paste
  • –  30g x parmesan, grated
  • –  Pinch of nutmeg
  • – Handful Fresh Parsley – rough chop (plus extra for garnish)


  1. Mix everything together in a bowl. 
  2. Divide into equal sized balls – approx. 8.
  3. Heat your pan to medium high with a little oil, and pop the balls in, turning so all sides are coloured.
  4. Add pomodoro sauce and finish cooking in a hot oven for 4-5 minutes. 

Pomodoro Sauce

Ingredients: Makes plenty, save any left overs to have with pasta.  It’s fine to freeze

  • – 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • – 1 onion, chopped
  • – 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • – 1 can chopped tomatoes or passata
  • – small bunch of fresh basil
  • – Salt & pepper to taste


  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil, then saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add in the tomatoes and basil.
  2. Cover and cook until thickened. 
  3. Season, then pick out the garlic before serving.  For a smoother sauce, you can blend this.

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