I had a few girlfriends over for dinner last week and I bought some lovely scallops from Moxon's (my all time favourite fishmonger in London) and I bought a dozen plump, juicy scallops and a beast of a 1.5kg Seabass. I made a vegetable risotto using enoki mushrooms, cavolo nero cabbage and fennel... which complimented the seafood perfectly. I stuffed the seabass with fennel discards, lemon, bashed garlic, shallots and some herbs. If only I had taken a picture! But sometimes enjoyment cannot be interrupted by having to take photographs! Sadly despite their only being 4 of us, there wasn't a single scrap of seabass or scallops left but I did find myself left with a rather generous bowl full of risotto which I stuck in the fridge.
Leftovers are such a crime. I myself have always been one of the biggest criminals when it comes to throwing food out because I would buy more than I could use. Oh how times have changed! When I think of how many people in the world are without, I make sure I shop when I need to and I have also devised ways to use up most of the usual foods that get left behind in my fridge. But risotto? Risotto is easy. The Italians have already devised a very clever way to use this up by forming the pretty unsavoury stodgey rice into little balls, filled with either meat ragu or a little square of Mozzarella cheese and frying them. The result? Deliciously golden, crunchy on the outside, round balls of soft tasty rice with an oozy cheese centre. Not to shabby for me, I tell you. But having devoured many of these balls over the years courtesy of Carluccio's restaurants, I was a bit worried my version wouldn't turn out great.... Oh how very wrong I was! They turned out to be so delicious!
I won't lie, I do find dipping things in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs to be all too tedious... BUT when the result is so great and uses up leftovers, its a win-win situation and I'm prepared to go the extra mile! So here is how to make them;
**Quantities will depend on how much leftover risotto you have**
Leftover risotto (any kind as long as it's leftover and not fresh)
Japanese Panko or normal breadcrumbs (Panko sold at supermarkets, fishmongers and Oriental shops)
Free range eggs, beaten
Plain flour, seasoned
Mozzarella cheese (not Buffalo for this!) cut into 1 inch cubes
Preheat some oil in a deep pan over a medium-high heat (electric) or medium heat (gas), enough to cover about 3-4 inches of the base. Basically the trick to preparing this is to take a small handful of the cold risotto and gently flatten it out a little in the palm of your hand. Then place a cube of mozzarella cheese in the centre and gathering the edges around the mozzarella, form a nice round ball ensuring there are no cracks. Then roll the ball in seasoned flour, shaking off any excess... then coat in beaten eggs and finally roll generously in panko crumbs and deep fry for about 10 minutes, or until a deep golden brown on all sides.
That's it! That is all there is to it! Next time you have risotto left over and don't fancy reheating it the next day... Why not turn it into these delicious little golden balls of fabulousness? Oh and for the record, I made 9 Arancinis... and they were so tasty, they lasted less then 9 minutes!