Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Arancini does not pass for dinner in Sicily, but it suffices as a snack or as part of a lunch. I do not typically have leftover risotto but everyone had already eaten when I cooked up Beetroot Risotto two days ago - and I ate as much as I could! To feed more, of course you would need more than my measly cup of leftovers, but I wasn't going to waste it.
I didn't go whole hog either, for there was not enough leftovers to merit going to the effort of deep-frying, which though faster than what I did, requires waiting around time for a vat of oil to reach the required temperature (around 190 C/375 F). If you want proper arancini, which is to say a "little orange", then deep-frying is the only way to achieve a ball of golden crust that completely encases the balls of risotto and cheese.
The following recipe makes 4 arancini, enough for 2 as a snack or 1 for lunch.
1 cup leftover risotto (I had Beetroot Risotto, the recipe for which is here)
3/4 cup breadcrumbs, divided use
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped, divided use
1/4 cup grated cheddar (feel free to be more traditional and cube mozzarella)
Red bran oil (or substitute with your frying fave: canola, olive or vegetable oil)
1) Heat enough oil to come half-way up the balls of risotto, approximately 3cm/1.2".
2) Mix together the risotto, egg, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon parsley in a bowl.
3) Combine the remaining breadcrumbs and parsley on a flat plat and reserve. The balls will be rolled in this mixture before frying.
4) Use two tablespoons or the risotto mix per ball. Flatten out in the palm of your hand and sprinkle some grated cheese in the centre (or a cube of mozzarella). Close the risotto mix around the cheese.
5) Toss the ball from one hand to the next, gently forming a squat ball - a rounder meat patty.
6) Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs.
7) Fry until browned and heated through, approximately 4 mintues.
8) Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
9) Serve after 2 minutes or else they will be too hot to eat.
This is a beautifully simple recipe to follow, and the result is rather incredible! It was good to use a relatively adventurous risotto, which has a bold flavour of sweet and savoury components. This complexity in initial flavour allows for more play with the crispy exterior - and more interesting bites, too! The cheese was gooey in the centre, as it should be. Each bite was sheer perfection. I'm beginning to think it isn't such a bad idea to make risotto for the purpose of making arancini. If that is not a sign of the genius of Italian cookery, turning leftovers into taste sensations, then I don't know what is.
Italy sure does have much more varied and glorious dishes than the wildly popular and lovely Neopolitan fare. It deserves all the coverage it gets.
Beetroot arancini has a great colour - well done!!
Susan, lovie ~ I wish the culinary vigor wasn't because of the mental fatigue. Sadly, it was an ephemeral blast in the kitchen as perspective has returned such that I can continue writing. I really want to make a chocolate cake or pudding over the next week. I don't know what to make exactly, but I'm going to have fun reading for inspiration and clues.
Wendy ~ I'm happy to prevent eating too much after 8pm. But then I'm only replacing eating late with fried food, which I'm not sure is a healthier alternative. Oh well, you're still young.
Pille ~ Sorry you left it too late to make mushroom arancini. The colour of these is indeed fabulous, the deep purply-pink and the tinged orange. I think the parsley in the breadcrumbs was a good idea. I am not sure if they do that in Sicily or not, but I recalled the idea from when Eric and I made crab cakes not so long ago.
Deb ~ You're very kind, but any artistry here can only be attributed to Mother Nature. You can cube mozzarella for the center. I just don't like too much cheese in anything; here, there is enough to just make a gooey impression on the eater.
Kelly-Jane ~ I picked up Apples For Jam this morning and noticed the recipe. I can't believe I didn't read (or don't recall reading) that suggestion. I have yet to cook from the book. I appreciate her vision greatly, and that most of the recipes are simple for everyday fare with interest is appealing.
Cynthia ~ They are worth trying any day, since risotto can be fresh and light in Summer (just don't add cheese) or dense and rich in Winter. Some days a moderate helping of fried food cannot be bettered.
Hope you had a wonderful time with Eric and look forward to catching up with your blog!