Sunday, February 27, 2011

Risotto Balls

Everything I've read about these makes it seem as though they're the Italian staple that holds the same importance as bread. Funny because I've only seen them at tapas places and that they are said to be a great accompaniment to pasta dishes just seems like carb overload to me. But to each his own.

Anyways. One of my favorite quickish meals that usually involves mostly staples and is perfect for a weeknight dinner, next day lunch is risotto. Seriously. It's arborio rice, possibly a veg or 2, possibly a protein if you are so inclined and lots of liquid. You can fancy it up and add wine or cheese or cream or even sear off some scallops and make it truly gourmet, but in truth you only need 3-4 things to make a tasty risotto. Which is what I did the other night with some leftover chicken breast, some mushrooms and manchego I'm trying to use up before veganism kicks in.
Rolling the risotto balls in breadcrumbs
Oh, you want a recipe? No problem. Here's a good one from Tyler Florence. And like I said above you can leave off basically everything except the rice, oil, broth and salt/pepper, though I'd suggest some dried herbs at the very least. And if you want to make it vegetarian/vegan, just use vegetable stock instead.

The thing with risotto is that you can end up with a LOT. 1 cup of rice was dinner, lunch the next day and I still had plenty left over for 5 good sized risotto balls. And the thing with the risotto balls was that after being chilled in the fridge they were a snap to make. If you've ever made meatballs, same concept.

Risotto Balls
1 1/2 c. precooked risotto- chilled
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
2-3 Tbl oil- I just pan fried, but you could deep fry too

Some recipes called for eggs, but my risotto was already pretty well bound together and I'm trying to cut out the dairy/eggs here so I left it out. Then just roll into balls about 1" diameter and then coat with breadcrumbs. Toss into a pan with some hot oil- note here: I didn't deep fry these as a) kinda scary and b) trying to be a healthy as you can be when eating something pan fried. I suppose you could also bake them as well and just turn often to make sure all sides get the nice crunchy outer layer from the breadcrumbs. And that's it. If you're have cheese- these did for me- they'll have an extra gooey oomph, but I don't think I'd miss it too much without cheese.

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