Friday, April 15, 2011
When I made Giada's Mushroom and Pea Risotto earlier this week, I was pretty sure that there no way to improve upon the recipe. It was creamy and cheesy and everything I ever wanted in a risotto. But NOW I know how to 1-UP plain ol' risotto. It goes like this: stir in more cheese, then shape the risotto into balls, then stuff the balls with even more cheese, then DEEP FRY the suckers! Holy cow, were these good! My whole family loved them. Even the picky kid who turned her nose up at the risotto as a side dish gobbled up the same risotto when deep fried (and asked for seconds). Probably Jaimie Oliver is on his way to my house right now to bury our deep fryer in the backyard....
Seriously, the Arancini di Riso (which I will refer to as "risotto balls" or just "balls" for the remainder of this post because I'm not even sure how to pronounce "Arancini" and I have to keep checking the spelling every time I type it.) is a great way to use up leftover risotto. These were kind of like a cross between a hush puppy and fried mozzarella sticks, but with more complex flavors. Am I making any sense? Maybe I'm in some kind of deep-fried, carbohydrate, food coma right now...
These really are simple to make. Just stir some eggs, Italian bread crumbs, and Parmesan into your leftover risotto.
I used my medium Pampered Chef cookie scoop to make perfect, uniform balls. You want them to end up about 1 3/4-inches in diameter.
Cut some mozzarella cheese into 1/2" chunks and press them into the center of each ball, then roll the risotto balls between your hands to cover the cheese and round out the shape.
Roll the balls around in some Italian bread crumbs to coat.
Then drop them into oil heated to 350 degrees. Fry for 4 minutes. You can either heat 3 inches of oil in a heavy skillet or use a deep fryer. I used our fryer because every once in a while he needs to come out and prove that he's worth the storage space. Plus, with the manual heat setting, a built-in timer, drop-in basket, and cover (no hot grease splatters) our fryer really does make frying easier.
Dump them onto a plate lined with paper towel to drain and cool before eating.
Serve with sauce for dipping if you like.
Mmmmm. Cheesy! And LOOK...there are peas in there! A vegetable. These really are good for you.
Everything in moderation, people.
Here's the recipe as posted on The Seventh Level of Boredom.
Arancini di Riso
• Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
• 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
• 2 cups Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas, recipe follows, cooled
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
• 1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
• 2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches or heat your deep fryer. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.
Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.
Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.
Mushroom Risotto with Peas courtesy Giada De Laurentiis altered slightly by me
•8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
•1/4 cup unsalted butter
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•2 cups finely chopped onions + 1 diced shallot (if desired)
•10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
•2 garlic cloves, minced
•1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
•2/3 cup dry white wine
•3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
•2/3 cup grated Parmesan
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan.Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.