I purposely made extra mushroom risotto last night knowing that I would make these delicious fried rice balls today with the leftovers. For my risotto I start with one chopped, large yellow onion, six or seven minced garlic cloves, a mixture of cremini and oyster mushrooms (or whatever you have on hand) that roughly measures one pound or so, which I sauté in butter and extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and dried thyme (since I didn’t have any fresh thyme on hand). Once those are nicely softened and starting to brown, I add about two cups of arborio rice, and cook the rice for about two minutes. I then add one cup of a good quality, dry white wine and a large pinch of saffron threads, and cook until the wine has been absorbed by the rice. I then ladle in hot, homemade chicken stock one cup at a time, stirring constantly, being sure that the previous liquid is absorbed before my next addition. In total the process takes about thirty minutes, and approximately eight cups of stock. Once the rice is tender, I add a generous handful of both Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian flat leaf parsley. Is there anything more delicious than risotto? Perhaps deep fried balls of cheese stuffed risotto? Indeed!
Today I took two cups of the leftover risotto and mixed it together with a handful of both panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, along with two large eggs. I rolled the rice mixture into balls, and shoved a small cube of cheese into the center of each (here I used extra sharp cheddar, because it is what I had laying around, though mozzarella would perhaps be more appropriate), I then rolled each ball in panko bread crumbs, and fried them in vegetable oil until golden brown (in about two inches of oil…somewhere between a pan fry and a deep fry, turning half way through to ensure even browning), and drain them on paper towels. Serve these up as a delicious hors d’oeuvres, first course, or side dish with a puddle of homemade marinara, or sun dried tomato pesto. They are crisp, tender, creamy, and packed with great flavor. Never have leftovers tasted so good. Enjoy!
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