July 6, 2007


At the risk of tempting fate, I'm going to just come out and say it:

I think I figured out the secret to arancini di riso.
(It's making a good risotto the day before and forgetting any complicated madness around adding eggs and cheese to "thicken" the mush.)

Wednesday, I made a wonderful risotto from 1/2 a package of this month's bacon shipment, 3/4 of a red onion, 3 cloves of garlic, vialone nano rice, vermouth, chicken broth, beef broth, and a huge bunch of red swiss chard, diced. The onions and chard stems gave a bloodish hue to the concoction, which contrasted nicely with the dark green of the chard leaves.

Thursday, there were leftovers. After fumbling for what I would contribute to barbeque, I remembered my challenge .

So, I hopped in the car and headed to the store for a late-night bread crumbs and safflower oil run. Upon my return, my neighbor knowingly smiled and said, "beer run?" Given my odd compulsion for telling the truth in annoying detail, you can imagine how well that conversation went. Yeah, the neighbors think we're weird.

Anyways, back to the balls.

The risotto from the night before was cold from the overnight in the freezer. I could form perfect spheres between my hands around the cheese chunks without fear of them losing their structure. Now that was more like it. The balls were ready to stay in their shape even *before* frying. A little egg coating. Some bread crumbs. And a few minutes on each side in the safflower oil and I was done.

The only thing I might do differently next time is take the risotto out of the fridge an hour or so before hand so that the cheese is easier to melt in the heat of the medium-hot oil (300F or so), which does not scorch the bread crumbs.

I am pleased to report that my offer of "deep-fried-bacon-rice-cheese ball?" Was not turned down by a single guest at the barbeque. They were a hit. And they were non-exploding finger food. As they were meant to be.


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