Darlings! What DOES one do when they have loads of leftover risotto?
Why, make arancini, of course!
What, pray tell is arancini? (pronounced are-an-CHEE-nee)
They are lovely little parcels of crispy fried goodness on the outside with scrumptious savory surprises inside! The classic Sicilian arancini usually consists of rice and peas stuffed with a meat and tomato sauce with mozzarella cheese.
Back a few months ago, I had posted a divine vegetarian risotto recipe for Meatless Monday; a savory and more-ish mushroom and asparagus risotto. DJ Nevah L8 (4 dinnah) and I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner the first time, the second night it was even better. But by lunchtime on day three, La Diva was feeling that the risotto was like Willy Wonka's Everlasting-Gobstopper and just could not be finished! Seemed like every time I'd take a serving out, the same amount would be left in the bowl! As you know, La Diva LOATHES waste (it's SO last century to waste food!) so I decided to try my hand at something I'd been wanting to experiment with for a while.
So, here 's what I did:
La Diva's Mushroom Asparagus Arnacini
3 cups leftover mushroom asparagus risotto (recipe is at link above!)
6 ounces fontina cheese
flour, bread crumbs and one egg for the breading mix
Oil for frying
Freshly grated parmigiano (for garnish)
Dressed mixed salad greens
Taking a half cup measuring cup as a mold, I filled the bottom half of the cup with the risotto, making sure to press down firmly, forming half of a cake. I inserted a one ounce piece of fontina cheese and then put more risotto on top, again pressing down firmly. I turned the cup upside down and plopped the cake onto cling wrap, double wrapped it, and put into a freezer bag. I repeated five more times and put six half cup cakes into the freezer. (Alternatively, if you want to eat straightaway, continue to the breading stage!)
I thawed the cakes out and then carefully breaded them using the flour, egg wash and bread crumb method. (I used plain crumbs but you could season them if you wanted) I then took out my trusty wok (cuz it's deep and would use less oil) and began to heat the oil. When the oil was hot (but not too hot!) I carefully cooked each cake individually for about 3-3 1/2 minutes. Carefully remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
When cooled, place a cake over dressed salad greens, garnish with cheese and serve for a light lunch or supper or as an appetizer.
RESULT: I had a foodie friend for lunch and we both just LOVED the crunchy texture of the breading outside of the cake combined with the creamy, succulence of the rice inside! The melted fontina cheese adds a layer of luxury and sultriness to the risotto cake. I noticed no loss of texture or flavor from the frozen risotto but it would depend on what ingredients you were using. Seafood, for instance, probably would not hold up well after being frozen. I would like to try this recipe with my pumpkin risotto and think that would take to the freezer quite well.
Perfect for a light lunch or grab and eat at room temperature for a filling and compact lunch to go!
PS: Apple STILL has my computer! It's been nine days! Been using hubby's sloooow computer that is old and with mouse issues! I have to click everything three times! ARGH! (I promise I won't use any more exclamation marks and will C U soon. xo)