The summer sporting and social calendar is in full swing and the demand is to dine alfresco. Pancetta and rosemary arancini stuffed with olives and mozzarella is a jolly nibble for the picnic hamper

It’s time to dig out the picnic hamper. With the sporting and social calendar in full swing and the sun shining, the only way to dine is alfresco in the summer months. Philippa Davis’ pancetta and rosemary arancini stuffed with olives and mozzarella are a jolly way to start a picnic.

For more morsels perfect for picnics, strawberry and mascarpone profiteroles with salted caramel sauce are the best sweet treat to serve as the final flourish. Make an extra large batch, they are guaranteed to be popular with the picnickers.


This is a jolly nibble for when you are all geed up with your first glass of chilled fizz. Just remember to pack them at the top of the hamper for when you are all chomping at the bit.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 77g pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 650ml hot game or veg stock (I used the bones after rabbits had been brined)
  • 70g grated Parmesan
  • 20 green olives stuffed with mozzarella
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 120g panko breadcrumbs
  • Oil for deep frying

In a saucepan, gently sauté the rosemary, pancetta, onion and celery in the oil and butter until soft.

Add the rice and wine, stir well and season. Start adding stock a ladleful at a time while stirring, waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before you add more. Keep going until the rice is just cooked (it should be drier than a normal risotto), then stir in the Parmesan and check the seasoning.

Spread on a tray and cool.

Take golf-ball size amounts of rice and flatten to a disk on your palm (it helps if they are slightly wet). Place a mozzarella stuffed olive in the middle then fold up into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the mix.

Dip all the balls into the egg then the breadcrumbs. Heat the frying oil to about 175°C/350°F then fry in small batches until golden.

Leave to cool then place into your picnic box, placing greaseproof paper between layers.