Fried and Stuffed Rice Balls (Arancini di Riso)
- 1 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 cups cooked and cooled risotto or short-grain rice, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- 4 ounces Gorgonzola, at room temperature, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Basic Risotto:
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Breading: Put the bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Filling: In a medium bowl, combine the risotto, bread crumbs, Parmesan, basil, and eggs. With damp hands, using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture, form the mixture into 1 3/4-inch diameter balls. Make a hole in the center of each ball and insert a cube of Gorgonzola. Cover up the hole to completely enclose the cheese. Roll the balls in the breading to coat.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about 1/3 of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (If you dont have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 2 minutes.) In batches, fry the rice balls, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve.Basic Risotto:
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth hot.
In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next. Cook the rice until tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
Yield: 2 cups
Depending on the kind of Gorgonzola you use, you may have a salty or less salty finished product, so taste the cheese beforehand.