Two Ways with Risotto

Risotto is a simple, versatile and comforting food. You can serve it simply, a la Milanese, or you can primp it up with all manner of sauteed vegetables, dot it flashes of shredded of meat or fish or even serve it sweet.
Even better, you can use leftover Risotto to make Arancini (deep fried risotto balls) or fry up the cold, almost coaguluated rice in butter to serve as delicious, flavourful rice cakes.
Risotto is never as difficult as you might think. It does require a level of patience but we're talking no more than 30 minutes of ladleing stock into the rice and some gently stirring. In fact, it's a bit of a no-brainer to prepare but the final result is truly sublime.
My favourite way of serving risotto is with baby broad beans and peas (frozen of course!) stirred through it at the last minute. The bite of the tiny beans is wonderful and sweetness of the peas adds a certain something to the salty parmesan.
I have meddled with the basic Risotto recipe on one occasion only, when I made a beetroot risotto. The rice was stained a pale plum colour and it looked stunning, however the flavour seemed somehow wrong, as if the beetroot had in some way tarnished the purity of the rice. My only experimentations with risotto nowadays would be using the cooking juices from a roast chicken (which works so well, especially if you've made a lemon or galic roast chicken) or adding some chargrilled peppers or sauteed mushrooms or courgettes to the final dish. Oh, and I did make this particular risotto really luxurious by stirring through the leftover clotted cream from the cream tea at the weekend (and for the benefit of Quellia and those who are not familiar with Clotted Cream, it is just unpasturised milk that has been heated up and then left to cool for several hours. The cream content 'clots' (I know, it sounds unattractive), and rises to the surface.). This is a completely unnecessary step and was really an exercise in "using up stuff in the fridge that's gone/going bad", although a whorl of any cream/creme fraiche/sour cream will make an risotto extra decadent.
And just when you thought that risotto couldn't taste any better, just try it the next day. Shaped into patties and fried or rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried, the flavour is somehow more mellow, as if the risotto has matured overnight. And before you get squiffy about deepfrying, these Arancini (from the Italian for "Little Oranges" - they are so named because of the colour they turn when deep fried) are so simply to make that you'll always make extra risotto just so you can treat yourself the next day.
Some Arancini are just the rice, bound with a little egg, formed into balls and rolled in breadcrumbs before frying, but I put a little filling of some finely chopped Mozzarella inside mine and rolled them in another traditional Italian ingredient, Polenta, for a delicious crunch. The more adept you become at rolling the balls (floured hands help immensely), the more extragevant you can become with your fillings: chopped ham, chicken, cold, thick pizza sauce. You can make them as bite-sized as you want or form them into balls that need knives and forks to tackle them with. I served mine with a tomato sauce and some linguini - a vegetarian variation of Spaghetti and Meatballs!
But, back to the original risotto recipe:
RISOTTO - serves 2 generously with enough to make Arancini the next day
Ingredients:
300g Arborio Rice(or your favourite risotto rice)
1 White Onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
50g Butter
Handful Frozen Peas (optional)
50g Parmesan
1.5 Pints Chicken Stock (I used a stock cube), at boiling temperature
50ml Dash of white wine (optional)
METHOD:
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or saute pan and gently saute the onions and garlic until softened but not browned.
Pour in the rice and stir well until it is coated in the oily onion mixture and is starting to squeak a little. This means it wants more liquid! Keep the heat quite high.
Pour over the wine, if using, and stir gently until absorbed.
Then keep ladling in the hot stock, a ladleful at a time until the rice is tender to the bite but not mushy. This can take anywhere between 20 minutes to half an hour.
Season well with salt and pepper and beat in the butter.
Remove from the heat and throw in the frozen peas and parmesan. The heat from the risotto will cook the peas and melt the cheese luxuriously. Serve immediately in deep bowls with more parmesan for grating. I served mine with some pan fried Salmon that I had doused with Cajun Spice Mix.
Place the reserved risotto into a dish and cover well. Leave to cool, then refrigerate.

To make the Arancini:
ARANCINI
Ingredients:
Leftover Risotto
100g Coarse Polenta (cornmeal) (n.b. you can use dried breadcrumbs or panko instead if you prefer)
Chopped Mozzarella (optional)
Vegetable Oil for Deep Frying
METHOD:
Pour the cornmeal onto a plate so that your arancini can be transferred immediately to the plate once rolled. They are very sticky and need to be de-stickified as soon as possible.
Heat the oil up to the point where a cube of bread turns golden and crisp in about a minute. If the oil is too hot, the cornmeal will just burn, too cool and the filling will ooze everywhere and absorb all the oil. Not nice.
Lightly flouring your hands, scoop out little dollops of the rice, placing into the palm of one hand and flatten slightly. Place a couple of cubes of the Mozzarella into the centre of your risotto patty, then close the rice up around the cheese, ensuring it is completely enclosed. Form a rough ball shape, then place onto your plate of cornmeal. Continue this until all the rice is used up. You should get around 8 large Arancini.
Wash your hands.
Now you can roll the balls in the cornmeal. Once coated you can carefully form them into a slightly more uniform shape.
Using a metal slotted spoon, drop two or three of the coated balls into the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes. They will be a rich, golden colour and the cornmeal will have made a delicious, crisp shell around the meltingly hot rice.
Leave to drain on kitchen paper whilst you cook the others.
Serve with a tomato sauce or dip of your choice.
Enjoy!

47 comments:

Meeta said...

Oh this is so amazingly clever!! I am talking about the Arancini. A great way to use risotto! lovely Freya!

Jenny said...

Looks SO good. I made an autumn risotto for Thanksgiving one year - with butternut squash, spinach, etc. The hardest part was not letting it get gummy while everything else was being prepared. Probably not the best dish when you're involved with ten other dishes!!

I've also made rice pudding this way - it tastes so much better than cheater methods. :)

Claude-Olivier said...

arborio is really (the only one) the best rice to cook risotto...no choice for me, it is only this one. Your arancini look yummy, so cool !!!

Cheers
Claude

Janet said...

Looks wonderful, great recipe!

Brilynn said...

Those looks creamy and delicious!

s'kat said...

That's the most luscious looking photo of arancini I think I've ever seen. Mmm...

Susan said...

Those arancini are perfect, Freya. It can be a real pain to properly crumb and fry up mush. Hats off to you!

Deborah said...

I have never made risotto, although I have always wanted to. Now I really want to so that I can make the arancini! That looks so amazing!

Lydia said...

I make risotto all the time (my favorite is a two-mushroom variation), and I love arancini. The first couple of times I tried to make arancini, though, it was an awful mess! I find it works best when the leftover risotto is really cold.

T.W. Barritt said...

I love the "day-after" recipe! I could eat that right now!

Laura said...

Yum yum Freya I'm with you on the leftover risotto ideas I usually make at least twice as much as I need just so I can make risotto cakes the next day!
That's one creamy risotto.

Joyce said...

Another perfect example of cook once;eat twice. Great job breading those little devils, too!

Peabody said...

Good idea for your leftovers!

tigerfish said...

The deep fried risotto balls looks so delish. So creamy inside :)
I can imagine taking great care while biting on the arancini coz I'll be so worried that the creamy inside will spurt out :O

Kelly-Jane said...

Your risotto and arancini look wondeful. I haven't tried arancini yet, but have my eye on Tessa Kiro's one in Apples for Jam.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I would love both of these in the same meal. The arancini as a little (or large) taster followed by the risotto. I know it wouldn't work as you have to make the risotto first but alas a girl can dream. Infact I'd like it now as I'm cold and still damp from standing in the rain at the summer fair...

Callipygia said...

I'd rather go for the leftovers! They are sublime as risotto cakes or arancini. I love the idea of using polenta too.

katiez said...

I make risotto lots - great for the leftover bits. It has never made it to the 'arancini stage' though... It seems to get stuck at the 'standing at the fridge door eating cold with a spoon stage'.
Maybe someday - they look wonderful and you make it sound so easy.

Cynthia said...

Oh yeah, such creamy goodness. I prefer to have the risotto as arancini. It's a nice surprise to find such tenderness outside of such a crusty exterior.

sra said...

The arancini looks lovely - have never come across this.

Victoria said...

How lucky can I get! I was just thinking of having risotto for dinner tomorrow=) This post totally comes in handy!!
Can't wait to try the recipe out.

Kirsten said...

Wow!!! SO beautiful and really really decadent looking. I adore risotto and those little balls are darling, darling.

Yum!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes, Yes, I love risotto done in balls and cakes this way Freya. I like it fresh also but fried leftover never seem like leftover. I have to work to make enough so that there is some left over to fry! So good.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Freya, I love risotto so much - my favorite food in the whole world.
But arancini is something I haven't had in ages - there's never risotto left. :S

MeltingWok said...

So clever, leftover risottos for ancinis :) This cute nibbles will be a great appetizer, definitely a crowd pleaser, anytime, anywhere :)

joey said...

I have only started making risotto so I haven't got to arancini yet (although I've tasted them in Italy), but will definitely give it a go soon...your arancini looks perfect...and your risotto with peas (have got a bag in the freezer...yay!) sounds so good! :)

Saffron said...

You made fantastic arancini!
Great!

valentinA said...

oh my goodness, what a fantastic recipe freya!
it's so pretty & sounds uber yummy too!

Toni said...

Since risotto is rarely left over in my house, I'd opt for the clotted cream version in a heartbeat! Of course, I just love clotted cream and wish we could get it here. Of all the foods I've had in England, I think that is the one that brought tears of joy to my eyes...

Aimée said...

Oh gosh, those arancini look TOO GOOD. If only I had never had them, but it's too late, I know how good they can be, and what I am missing.

Monkey Wrangler said...

You know, my great grandma used to say you shouldn't show your little oranges to just anyone.

Seriously, this looks fantastic.

kellypea said...

These sound completely fascinating. Risotto, breadcrumbs, & frying. All happy girl food.

Very clever!

Joan said...

I do believe that the impression about risotto and paella is really hard to prepare. I admire your risotto, as matter of fact I also have my version of easy to prepare paella. Just visit my blog... www.artist-chef.blogspot.com

Labor of Love doing those dishes! :-)

Culinary Cowgirl said...

Lovely arancini...I adore those.

annauk said...

I love arancini, and funnily enough made them only last week after a long break.
I was so excited that I'd managed to have left-over risotto!!
:-)

Christine said...

I've died and gone to heaven. I adore risotto, in fact I made some Monday and posted about it. However I was careful to only make enough for our dinner with no leftovers....if only I'd seen this first I'd have made more!! The idea of the risotto rolled up with mozzarella cheese in the middle, coated and fried!?!? I am going to have to make risotto again very SOON because these are calling to me. They look wonderful! :)

wheresmymind said...

Deep fried risotto balls...evil man...like I wanna eat them evil!

laura k said...

I, too, have had some serious difficulty making arancini, and you've pulled it off beautifully. The recipe I used initially didn't call for deep frying, more like pan frying in a lot of oil, and they just stuck to then pan like nobody's business. You've inspired me to try again!

Cottage Smallholder said...

These Arancini look wonderful. What a clever idea to coat them in polenta.

Thanks for the tip.

Amy said...

Mm these fried risotto balls look delicious! Now I know what to do with leftover risotto!

SteamyKitchen said...

I'm going to try this - I've made risotto only once before and it was so creamy, rich and warm that I ate it all in one sitting....all by myself. No leftovers for arancini!

Shaun said...

Freya, love - I have always wanted to make arancini but never seem to have any leftover risotto. I'm really into beetroot risotto at the moment - well, actually since last Winter in the US, but as I get to have Winter again, I am able to play with this some more. I had best make the most of it before I go back to the US early next month. I'm looking forward to not only seeing Eric again but also the cookery books that were left behind...Hope all is well with you and Paul.

Glenna said...

Thanks for the great recipe and directions. I've always wanted to make the risotto balls. They're my favorite dish at a local tapas restaurant.

Deborah Dowd said...

Your Arancini( sounds way nicer that risotto balls!) look so delicious, I can't wait to give them a try!

candy said...

awesome! i have some arborio rice AND some polenta that i bought with good intentions (but those good intentions have just sat in the cupboard) and now i have something to do with them! that looks so good!

Nazca said...

I had similar delights like these when I was in Rome a year or so ago. I'm still to leave any left-over risotto to try the recipe out ;-)

christine (myplateoryours) said...

I always want to make arancini but have been too intimidated. These look amazingly good, though. I will have to break down and give it a try. I once made raddichio risotto and it got kind of a muddy purple color (more of a gray, really) but it was delicious. Your beet story made me think of it.