Thursday, August 4 2022

Crispy on the outside, creamy and rich on the inside, Onesto’s aperitif arancini begins with a creamy risotto molded into balls stuffed with Parmesan, peas and red sauce. The balls are then rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs, fried until golden brown. Photo by Pat Eby

Pat Eby taken on December 9, 2019

6 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter

1 large shallot, minced or ¼ cup minced yellow onion

½ teaspoon of freshly ground fennel seeds

½ cup of Chablis or other dry white wine

¼ cup finely grated Parmesan

2 cups red meat sauce or bolognese sauce, divided

1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan, divided

2 cups of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

For the pan: 1 cup vegetable oil

For frying: use the amount of oil specified by the manufacturer

4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, leaves only, for garnish

Remarks: Risotto cooks best in a straight sided sauté pan. Suggested pan sizes are in the recipe steps.

• Freshly ground fennel seeds add so much to this dish that the time to prepare the fresh grind is well worth it.

• Use a large wooden spoon to stir constantly while the rice is cooking.

• When frying the arancini, do not pile them in the deep fryer or in the pan. For the test, a small wooden spoon and a wooden paddle worked very well to spin the balls gently when cooking in the pan.

1. Pour the vegetable or chicken broth into a 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat until the broth is heated through, then reduce the heat to low to keep the broth warm.

2. Place a flat-bottomed sauté pan over low heat on a burner near the stock pot. For the test, the pan used was 11 inches in diameter and 2 ½ inches deep. Reheat the pan. Add the butter to be melted then add the chopped shallots. Sauté gently until the shallots become translucent, stirring as needed. Don’t let them brown.

3. Add the rice and ground fennel seeds to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high, then stir with a wooden spoon to coat each grain of rice in butter. The rice will sizzle at this point.

4. Stir for 1 minute, then add the wine and stir for an additional minute.

5. Add a large ladle full of the hot broth, stirring constantly in the rice mixture. We used a cup ladle. Scrape the sides and bottom frequently, pushing all the rice grains down to promote even cooking.

6. When the liquid is almost completely absorbed, repeat with the next ladle of hot broth. Again, stir constantly at this point. Do not let the mixture boil dry.

7. Repeat, using a full ladle at a time, until the rice is plump and tender. As you add the last full ladle, turn off the heat and keep stirring until the boil subsides.

8. Add the finely grated Parmesan and season to taste with S&P.

9. Remove the risotto from the pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper while it is still loose. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool a bit. Cover with plastic wrap, then let cool completely in the refrigerator.

ten. While the risotto is cooling, prepare the filling. Combine the sauce with ½ cup coarsely grated Parmesan and frozen peas.

11. To make the arancini, take the risotto out of the fridge and divide it into 15 equal portions, just 1/3 cup each. Shape each portion into a ball. If the rice is too sticky, moisten your hands with water first. Return the balls to the baking sheet.

12. When you have made all the balls, cut a notch in each ball and fill it with 1 teaspoon of the prepared filling. Close the cavity by pressing the rice together and reforming it into a smooth ball.

13. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and roll stuffed balls to coat. If necessary, moisten the hands with water then roll the balls in the breadcrumbs. Return the individual balls to the cookie sheet and get ready to fry them.

14. If using a home fryer, heat the oil the manufacturer’s suggested to 350 degrees, then fry a few meatballs at a time until golden brown. Do not overload the fryer and leave plenty of space.

15. To pan fry, heat a large skillet, add oil and heat over medium-high heat until a drop of water runs to the surface. Add the balls, turning them if necessary, to obtain an evenly golden fried coating. Remove the finished balls to a warm place and use paper towels to drain off excess oil.

16. To serve, place the warmed sauce on a plate, add 3 arancini, then coat the arancini with a little sauce, the rest of the Parmesan and fresh parsley.

Per portion (per ball): 198 calories; 8 g of fat; 4 g of saturated fat; 14 mg of cholesterol; 8 g of protein; 23 g of carbohydrates; 2g of sugar; 1 g of fiber; 408 mg of sodium; 121 mg of calcium


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