1 cup risotto rice (arborio)
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 cups champagne or white wine (i use champagne when i feel decadent)
1 liter vegetable bouillon, heated
1 pinch saffron
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup parmigiano, finely grated
1 cup mozzarella, finely chopped
3 eggs + 1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 liter vegetable oil (i used peanut) – suitable for deep frying
microgreens (provided by urban farmers*, no kidding) or other leafy greens of your choice
start by making the risotto (best to prepare it ahead so that it has enough time to cool, turn firm and ‘dry’ a little): heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or wok, then add teh onions, garlic and rice and sweat until onion is translucent. deglaze with the champagne or white wine, stir continually until all liquid is absorbed. then add a ladle of vegetable bouillon, bit by bit, until fully absorbed again, all the while stirring. when rice is done (but still a bit al dente) after about 30 to 40 minutes, add the saffron and parmigiano and sesason with salt and pepper. refrigerate overnight.
in a bowl, combine the cold risotto, 3 eggs and mozzarella, and knead it through with your hands. in three bowls, prepare the ingredients for ‘breading’*: flour in one plate, 1 egg in another and breadcrumbs in a third. shape golfball sized balls out of the risotto mix, roll them in your palms. then first coat in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. heat the vegetable oil in a high saucepan. check the heat with a breadcrumb: when it sizzles and dances, the heat is good to go. a note on the heat: it really needs to be hot enough! otherwise, the arancini soak up the oil and turn all mushy and fall apart**… you know how everybody always says ‘be careful, don’t make the oil to hot’? well, it’s the other way around. dare to heat it up, man! then, a couple of arancini at the time, let them deepfry for about 2-3 minutes, until golden and crispy all around. remove with a sieve and place on some paper towel to soak up excess oil. serve warm or cold, on the same day, on a bed of tiny, leafy greens (just because they look so gorgeous) or stacked and piled high on a cake stand.
*my brother, yo! he’s such a talented little urban farmer. he grows fish and vegs on a rooftop farm in basel, switzerland. and can you actually believe it: now they’re starting to sell to migros, which is, oh… only the largest retailer in switzerland? yeah, told ya. pretty darn fab. and sometimes, i get those fab leafy microgreens (don’t ask me what they are, but they look and taste divine) – and happiness is on a plate.
** my friend joey and i, who made those golden balls of goodness together, well, let’s just say we’ve got some experience now in terms of them ‘falling apart’…? minor crisis. nothing a glass bottle of bubbly couldn’t fix. they’re not as easy to handle as they might look…! it is a bit of a tricky business, really. so a couple of things are important if you want to be successful here. one: make the risotto really rather dry. two: use enough eggs to hold the mix together. depends a bit on how moist your risotto was. three: fry in very hot oil. yup. my lessons. and i learned them the hard way. ever failed? never mind. try again and fail better next time. or succeed and serve and make your guests very happy and be proud. there’s always a choice in life. give up or try again.
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