What do YOU do with leftovers?? I have always repurposed them in scrummly ways. The other night we made saffron risotto but, getting anyone in the house to repeat more than one night of certain things doesn't happen often and I don't like to force food to be eaten. Eating should be fun!
When I have leftover risotto I do what I have seen countless "master" chefs do with it... I stuff it with cheese, make it into a ball, roll it in flavored crumbs and FRY those suckers UP! Served with a loverly tomato dipping sauce, you can't go wrong with these balls of yum! I first saw an actual recipe for this in a cookbook of Giada de Laurentis years back when I was first getting obsessed with learning more refined, authentic dishes. I never actually looked in the book more than once until this year. I've been missing SO much yummy food! Use your cookbooks people. These chefs didn't get book deals for nothin'!!
Now, the name of these beauties means "little orange rice balls"...not too creative of a name. But they were named for the traditional saffron version of risotto because the saffron gives the risotto an orange hue. This is a wonderful recipe and a keen way to use up your risotto leftovers. They come out hot, crispy and I haven't fed them to a single person who didn't fall in love with them and want the recipe.
Arancini Di Riso
2 c. of cooked saffron risotto, cooled
1 1/2 c. dry Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. fresh parmesean, grated
2 eggs, beaten
2 oz. mozzarella cheese in half inch cubes
oil for deep frying
In a large, heavy saucepan put enough oil in that it comes up 3 inches in the pan. Bring it up to 350 degrees while you are making your balls. Use a thermometer to make sure you hit 350 and it STAYS at 350 as you are cooking.
In a large bowl stir the risotto with 1/2 c. of Italian bread crumbs, the parmesan cheese and the eggs together until just combined. In a smaller bowl put the rest of the bread crumbs for rolling the risotto balls. Using about 2-3 T. of the risotto mixture, cover each mozzarella cube. Do this until you either run out of risotto mixture or cheese cubes. Make sure that you press the risotto around the cheese firmly so the balls hold together through the frying process.
When you've finished forming the risotto balls roll them in the remaining bread crumbs and make sure they are completely coated. Set them aside and get some paper towel on a plate for the balls to cool on after frying.
Gently place the crumb coated balls in the oil in small batches so you don't drop the frying temperature too drastically. No more than 3-5 balls per batch. Fry them until they are brown and heated through. About 4-6 minutes. When they are finished use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the plate with paper towel to allow them to drain the excess oil off.
Let them rest for 2-5 minutes and serve. You can serve these with or without a dipping sauce. Since the saffron risotto I used for this recipe already had so much flavor between the saffron and pancetta, I skipped a dipping sauce for mine. But if you make a "plain" risotto there are a number of things you can use for a dipping sauce. A nice basil pesto sauce, a marinara of any kind with a small amount of basil or even just a simple garlic aioli.