Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Tuna Meatball and Courgette Risotto

A few years back I recall making some tuna meatballs but I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed and I never revisited them... they were kind of stodgy and er dense from memory… until one particular night recently... I had planned a risotto of some sort for dinner and I thought about using up the bacon lurking in the fridge but as we were planning sausages on the Thursday and my head started muttering too many nitrates in the week, I decided to cook something fishy instead but we only had tinned tuna, tinned mackerel or tinned salmon and nothing in the fridge or freezer.. and I wondered if could we dare brave tuna meatballs again? Plus the thought of tuna stirred through risotto didn’t exactly sound inviting at all yet alone the mental imagery and I thought about making tuna meatballs again but smaller this time and a completely different recipe – so I tweaked a few things and voila! Success! Apart from Mr B initially thinking the meatballs were actually made of chicken it was a resounding success!

Since making this courgette version, I also made another one with finely sliced leek, added at the same stage as the courgette in the original version and a cupful of petit pois near the end, along with roasting cherry tomatoes instead of peeling etc as basically they are less faffy to do, oh and I used some lovely fresh rosemary instead of Basil – both risottos were resounding successes and I am making mental note of both to remake! Don’t be shy with the parmesan – I have in the back of my mind somewhere that cheese and fish are not very Italian but I am part Polish and the rest a mixed English bag and well I don’t really care! It tastes great and surely that’s all that matters?!
The meatballs are easy to make - I have tried both with and without flour to roll in and providing you work quickly, the less flour the better! Its a fairly cheap dish to make as well - tinned tuna is so handy to keep on standby this makes a great week night or weekend meal to cook!

Serves Two – Easily doubled.


1 x tin tuna in spring water
1 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
1 medium egg
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
1 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
1tbsp olive oil


175g carnaroli rice
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 courgette, trimmed, cut into thin quarters
1 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
50ml dry white wine (or vermouth)
1 large tomato (or 6 cherry tomatoes)
1 heaped tsp vegetable stock powder, made up in 700ml boiling water
½ lemon, zest only
2 heaped tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese + more to serve
3 basil leaves, for garnish

Pre-heat the oven 10 low – about 80o

Start by preparing the meatballs. Mix lightly the tuna, basil. Egg, parmesan and breadcrumbs. Use a teaspoon and hands to create mini meatballs. Heat the olive oil, fry the meatballs for about a minute or so on each side until lightly crispy, place in a baking tray, cover loosely with foil and keep warm in the oven.

Place the pan back on the heat and melt the butter, gently sauté the onion until translucent, being cautious not to brown it then add the courgettes and fry for 5 minutes to lightly colour.
Add the white wine, allow to burn off then stir through the garlic and rice, fry for a minute then add a good splash of stock to loosen, reduce the heat slightly and when the stock has evaporated and starting to sizzle slightly, add a splash more and repeat until the rice has fluffed up - about 30 minutes give or take. You may choose to spend this time getting to know your wine better.
When its almost cooked through add the prepared tomato, and lemon zest. The texture should be slightly loose but not sloppy! Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper and stir through the parmesan.

Serve in bowls with a good sprinkle of parmesan and a basil leaf

Risotto really is perfect comfort food – who can resist a big steaming bowl of hot creamy, fragrant rice on a chilly winters night? The flavours all worked so well together and it will definitely be made again soon!

If my risotto has whetted your appetite why not check up this little round-up of deliciousness:
An intriguing sounding and gloriously golden Prawn Savoury from FabFood4All
This simple but delicious looking Tomato and Basil Risotto from Happiness is Homemade
If you have not tried using pearl barley instead of risotto rice it makes for a delicious risotto still - this Chorizo and pea one from What to Have For Dinner Tonight (I make a similar one myself and I agree the flavours work so well together!)
I adore the name of this newly discovered blog Knead Whine and her risotto of Butternut Squash and Sage looks scrumptious!
Seeing this lush looking Baked Wild Mushroom Risotto from Family-Friends-Food makes me pine for my old cast iron casserole.. which I regrettably sold to make space a few years day we will meet again!
There is also another lovely oozing Mushroom one - this tasty risotto from Munchies and Munchkins also contains black garlic - something I recall seeing at a food show with a morbid fascination!


  1. Oh tuna meatballs are very much my thing! Lovely recipe Anne and thank you for including my risotto too! x

  2. What a beautiful sounding dish! I will definitely be trying out your tune meatballs :) x

  3. Those tuna meatballs look great. I bet they would be good with pasta too. Bookmarking this one :-)

  4. What a fabulous and really original dish Anne! Thank you for including my Prawn Savoury:-)


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