In today's episode, we learn how to make risotto balls with leftover risotto and pro scooter ride Jon Reyes from RideNYC stops by to cook. Risotto balls are the perfect recipe for leftover risotto, ya just rolled them into balls, stuffed with mozzarella, then you bread them and fry them. This arancini recipe is super easy and delicious, but don't take my word for it, let Jon Reyes tell you how they are.
1-2 Cups, Leftover Risotto (any kind works, although plain risotto works best)
1 Cup, AP Flour
1 Cup of Water
2 Cups, Breadcrumbs
1 Ball, Fresh Mozzarella, diced small
Vegetable oil (enough to fill the pan your using by halfway)
Prepare your breading station. The way I’ve seen this made in Italy is by making a simple batter flour, 1 egg, and some water. So in a bowl add four and slowly start to work in the water a little bit at a time to you down form lumps. Add water a little at a time until the batter loosens up. Add the egg and continue adding water until the batter is thick but still a little runny. It should be able to coat the risotto balls. Then get your breadcrumbs in a bowl.
For this recipe, I used the leftover corn risotto I made 2 days ago. It’s cold and seizes up and starchy so it should already have enough binder. Scoop enough of the cold risotto to form a ball about the size of a golf ball. Then in your hands, roll them like meatballs, except you want these to be compact. I don’t mean smushed, just firmly pack the rice tightly together. Then with your finger, gently start to carve out a little whole in the meatballs to stuff with cheese. Then stuff a few small pieces of mozzarella inside (you could also toss in some thick ragu if you had, that is very traditional), then close the ball back up tightly.
In a dutch oven or and high rimmed pan, fill the pan with at least an inch of vegetable oil but no more than halfway up whatever pan you choose to use. I will not give an amount as that’s not relevant. You just need enough oil to fry the balls thoroughly. On medium heat, preheat the oil until a thermometer reads 350 degrees. Then try and stable that temp by either lowering the heat or raising the heat as you add and remove the risotto balls.
Take that ball and dip it into the batter. Coat it all the way around and then lightly wipe off the excess. Then toss that into the breadcrumbs. With a dry hand take some of the breadcrumbs and bury the balls, then toss them around the breadcrumbs, make sure they are completely covered and well breaded. Transfer to a plate and bread the rest. Should yield around 4-6 balls depending on how much leftovers you have. They are ready to fry immediately or you can let them sit in the fridge. You could probably freeze them too but I’ve never done that.
Once your oil is hot, gently place the balls into the oil making sure not to overcrowd the oil. Cook the risotto balls until a deep golden brown all the way around. They will likely require being gently flipped and tossed around to get an even browning. Again. If they are frying quick, lower the heat, if they aren’t browning well enough, pop the heat up a bit. If the oil is too hot the center might not get hot. So the goal is to fry the exterior to a nice golden brown while getting the inside thoroughly heated.
Once they are cooked, transfer to a wire rack to cook and season immediately.
Serve with weekday sauce, parmesan, and fresh basil. The fresh basil I found to add a really nice freshness to the dish that I highly recommend.
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