Monday, 1 March 2021

SMOKED MOZZARELLA ARANCINI


O.M.G. These deep fried risotto rice balls, filled with smoked mozzarella or as the Italians would call it Scamorza, are absolutely amazing, indulgently gooey and probably one of the best things I have made in my lockdown cooking career.

I will say, they do take a while to make, more of a weekend cooking project rather than something to tackle after another day in the WFH office, and there are quite a few prep steps involved if you dont happen to have a lot of leftover risotto knocking around (and I mean who has? If I make risotto I usually finish it LOL) but IT IS SO WORTH THE EFFORT! 

Plus I found the whole process rather fun as well - making the risotto, shaping the balls, getting the crispy coating on and finally frying them until golden brown, with oozing melted cheese inside.

Normal mozzarella will work fine as well but the smokiness of the Scarmoza adds a very special finishing touch. 

Serve them as starter own their own or with a spicy tomato sauce which can totally be store bought, I went for one here, especially when you've already cooked your ass off with these wonderful Arancini balls!

I have been dreaming of these ever since I had my first bite and for sure will make them again even when lockdown comes to an end!

MAKES ABOUT 10

INGREDIENTS

  • 3½ cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1cup carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup double cream
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 150g Scamorza (or normal mozzarella), cut into small squares
  • 1 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs, I get mine at Waitrose)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil for frying (about 750ml)

METHOD
  • Bring stock to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat, then keep warm over low.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium. 
  • Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 4–5 minutes. 
  • Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until softened but not browned, about 1 more minute.
  • Stir in rice; season with 1½ tsp. salt. 
  • Cook, stirring often, until some of the grains turn translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes. 
  • Add wine and cook, stirring often, until pan is almost dry, about 2 minutes. 
  • Ladle in 1 cup warm stock, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. 
  • Ladle in another 1 cup stock and continue to cook, stirring yet again, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 5–7 minutes. 
  • Add remaining 1½ cups stock and cook, stirring often, until rice is cooked through but toothsome and liquid is mostly absorbed, 9–11 minutes longer. 
  • Remove from heat. 
  • Stir in Parmesan, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tsp. pepper, and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. 
  • Season risotto with salt.
  • Spread risotto in an even layer on a baking paper lined baking tray. 
  • Chill at least 1 hour or up to 4 (cover risotto with plastic wrap after 1 hour so it doesn’t develop a skin).
  • Line another baking tray with paper. 
  • Scoop about ¼ cup risotto into your hands and form into a patty about 2½" in diameter (it doesn’t need to be perfect!). 
  • Place Scamorza piece in the centre of patty. 
  • Carefully pinch and shape risotto so it completely encases the cheese, then roll into a ball. 
  • Your hands might get messy, and the balls may be slightly misshapen (they’ll firm up later). 
  • Place on prepared baking sheet. 
  • Repeat with remaining risotto and mozzarella. 
  • Freeze balls 10 minutes(DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP).
  • Meanwhile, pulse panko in a food processor or place in a ziptop plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until finer crumbs form. 
  • Transfer to a shallow bowl. 
  • Place flour in another shallow bowl. 
  • Lightly beat eggs in a third shallow bowl to blend; season all bowls with salt and pepper. 
  • Working one at a time, dredge balls in flour, shaking off excess. 
  • Transfer to bowl with egg and turn to coat, letting excess drip back into bowl. 
  • Coat with panko, pressing gently to adhere. 
  • Transfer to another lined baking tray. 
  • Chill balls while you heat oil.
  • Pour oil into a medium saucepan. 
  • Heat for a few minutes, then drop a few panko crumbs into the hot fat to see if it is hot enough, you will know when it is as they will start to fizz up when dropped in. 
  • Carefully lower half of rice balls into oil with a slotted spoon or spider and fry until deeply golden brown, 6–8 minutes. 
  • Transfer to paper towels to drain; season with salt. 
  • Repeat with remaining rice balls. 
  • Serve warm with a tomato sauce alongside for dipping!

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