Thursday, October 28, 2010

Arancini di Riso (Little Oranges Of Rice)

I love arancini di riso, and what could be more beautiful?

Giadia De Laurentiis’ recipe below seems very good and logical.  

However, her “degree of difficulty” description reminds me of that old Senor Wences wisecrack, “easy for you, difficult for me.”  I love cooking most "normal" rice preparations (from a variety of cultures), but whenever I've tried to fashion arancini or sushi, I end up with hands that look like rice gloves.  Onward and upward, I say.  I intend to get the hang of this someday because the arancini offered for sale at most commercial establishments tend to be bland, overcooked, heavy and starchy.  Properly prepared, they are heavenly, a sort of riso or risi e bisi apotheosis.

Arancini Di Riso

Vincent Van Gogh, Still Life With Oranges, Lemons and Blue Gloves, 1889, Oil on Canvas

Arancini di Riso (Giada De Laurentiis)

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Level: Easy

Serves:  about 20 servings

  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 2 cups Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas, recipe follows, cooled
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt
Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.

Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Mushroom Risotto with Peas:
  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. 

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. 

Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. 

Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). 

Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

Vincent Van Gogh, Still Life: Vase With Fifteen Sunflowers, 1888, Oil on canvas

Odilon Redon, Ophelia, 1900-5, Pastel on paper mounted on board

Arancini Di Riso

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