When leftovers taste this good you run the risk of making food just to create leftovers:
Cornmeal crusted balls filled with risotto, seafood and cheese. A traditional Italian rice ball (arancini) would be crusted with breadcrumbs but I love cornmeal as it’s durable and adds even more crunch to the texture of the ball itself.
Before getting to the recipe, let’s discuss a few points:
- Be safe, know how to deep fry and have safety precautions in place. My Father was a fire fighter and I gre up hearing about accidents with deep-frying – these are very good but they aren’t worth your house.
- Cheese and seafood. Not everyone’s bag. I think it works because of the amount of starch in risotto and works with the deep-frying but it’s purely optional.
- Leftover risotto (we used our seafood risotto but this vegetarian risotto would also work).
- Hunks of cheese – one per ball (which is made from 2 small handfuls of risotto so cut to the scale of your leftovers; it takes about 0.5-0.75 cups of risotto to make each ball).
- Flour to coat
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- Oil for frying
- Tomato sauce for serving
- Cheese for serving (optional)
- Turn your oven to 350.
- Warm tomato sauce on medium-high.
- Heat your oil to frying temperature (I tell by looking). You want at least enough oil to cover half the rice ball.
- As the oil is heating, form the balls (I place a bit of rice in one hand, put the piece of cheese in the middle and cover with a second bit of rice). Set onto a plate.
- Right before frying, coat each ball as follows:
- Dredge it in the flour.
- Coat with the egg
- Coat with the cornmeal
- Carefully add each ball as you finish the previous step – do not crown the pan (I cook two at a time in a large pot) as this will lower the cooking temperature too much and change the process away from frying and into poaching. This is not desired.
- Fry until crisp and rotate to fry second side. These took about 5 minutes a side.
- Remove with a large slotted spoon and allow them to cool and drain for a few minutes on paper towel or something else that’s absorbent.
- Remove the paper towel and put them in the oven – this will keep them warm and further warm the insides.
- Serve on a plate with sauce and garnish with cheese, if desired.