Sunday, March 23, 2014

Arancini di Riso (Fried Risotto Balls)

risotto balls
Hard to believe but that's a paper plate. 
Risotto and I are good friends. It's definitely not an easy friendship because it takes a lot of work, but it you put in the love then risotto rewards you by tasting like a gift from the divine. Last year I saw a risotto cooking demonstration on campus. I liked how free form making it was. You can literally make risotto with pretty much any ingredient (vegetable, meat, sauce, ect.) Since that demonstration, I've had parmesan risotto with scallops, sweet carrot risotto with shrimp and crispy prosciutto, and beef and red sauce risotto. So versatile.
In the cooking demonstration I saw, he used some of the leftover risotto to make "Arancini di Riso" or fried risotto balls. I don't eat many fried foods, but fried cheesy rice balls are worth it. Since then, I have wanted to make it so I included as part of my 10 Recipes 10 Weeks series. This is recipe 5/10 and is based off a Giada recipe. Now, I'm a college student and arborio rice is very expensive so I just use white rice and it works just fine. I served it on Friday (because it had no meat) with a yummy salad. The risotto is easiest to work with when it has been in the fridge overnight. You can either make the risotto recipe I've included the night before you want to serve or you can make it the day after with any leftover risotto from a meal. Makes about 20 balls.

butter for risotto
Start off with butter and onion. I'm not sure there is a better smell than that. 

When working on the risotto, you want to keep the broth to rice ratio about here.
About finished. 
Cube the gorgonzola.
Mix basil, risotto, parmesan, panko, and eggs.
After you've formed the balls...fry them!
Risotto Recipe
3 c chicken broth
2 T butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
3/4 c rice
1/4 c dry white wine
1/4 c grated parmesan
salt and pepper

If you've never made Risotto before, read Shauna Niequist's description of her mushroom risotto here. It's a process. 
  1. In a heavy pot, melt 2 T butter. Add in onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent and you can smell the garlic. Swirling with a wooden spoon occasionally.
  2. Add in the rice and stir to coat in butter. Stir until coated and then add the wine. Let simmer for about one minute.
  3. Add in 1/2 c warmed chicken broth, stirring the rice. Shauna says "you're trying to keep it from drowning and it keep it from drying out." You want it to be at an easy simmery-boil, nothing crazy. Add in more chicken broth as the rice begins to absorb it.
  4. Throughout this time, make sure to try the rice. After 20-30 minutes the rice should be cooked and the mixture should seem creamy and thick. At this point, turn off the heat. Add in the cheese, salt, and pepper. It should be incredibly tasty by now. Let cool then stick in the fridge overnight.

Risotto Ball Ingredients:
1 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
3 T Italian seasoning
Cooled risotto (I think mine made around 3 c)
1/2 c grated parmesan
4 T finely chopped fresh basil
2 eggs
3-4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, cubed (about 20 pieces)
vegetable oil
marinara sauce

  1. In a bowl, mix panko and italian seasoning. In a large pot, add in enough vegetable oil that it covers 1 1/2 in and heat up.
  2. In  a medium bowl, combine the risotto, parmesan, basil, eggs, and 1/2 c of the panko bread crumbs.
  3. With damp hands, take 1 T of the risotto and add in a cube of cheese. Take another 1 T of the risotto and cover the cheese. Form into a ball. Mine made about 20.
  4. Dip the risotto ball in the panko bread crumbs and cover. Once finished with all of them, add a few into the hot oil at a time. Fry in batches. They take about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Dry risotto balls on paper towel and then serve with marinara sauce.
At first I thought that the gorgonzola was kind of a weird choice. Its a very flavorful cheese, but once it melts it gives the risotto balls a lovely salty flavor. 

Note: I'm sorry that the font changes at the end of the recipe. Blogger has been super buggy for me lately. In the draft phase, everything looks the same, but when I post it changes. If you have any insight as to why, let me know.

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