Does everyone here watch Top Chef? I’ve been a little lackadaisical about tuning in this season. Usually I’m completely hooked, start it exactly 15 minutes after it begins, and don’t speak to anyone until the previews for the next week are over, but this time around I’m just kind of catching it when I can. I finally saw the Halloween episode with Lea Michele and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was before or after Cory Montieth’s tragic death. Is that weird? I just kept thinking, that poor girl, she must be so sad!
After speculating on just how well Lea Michele is coping, I couldn’t help but notice the three, yes three, different varieties of arancini served that day. Everyone and their mom said the word arancini so often, it should have been the code word for the WWHL drinking game, I’d be drunk by the time the Andy Cohen announced the poll results of which housewife Bravo viewers sided with that night.
(Let’s see how many times I say it in this post.)
The next morning, as I lounged on the couch, sipped on coffee, and caught up on old episodes of Giada at Home, my ears perked up when she mentioned the lobster arancini coming up next. There it was again. What’s the dealio? Is this a thing? Is it the weather? Is it the month of the arancini?
Whatever it is, I’ve got arancini on the brain.
Just an FYI if you don’t know, arancini are just deep-fried risotto balls… Yesah puh-lease…
These are fancy schmancy arancini, although I guess arancini are already a little bit fancy (or at least sound like they are) but these are uber fancy because they have pomegranates (which I think make everything classier), goat cheese (not as classy as brie or roquefurt but still in the classy cheese category) and fonduta (also very fancy sounding).
8 times and counting…..
You may think it’s kind of crazy to spend the time making a perfect risotto, then totally mess it up and turn it into a deep-fried ball of rice, BUT you can use leftover risotto if you have it (which is actually what traditional arancini are) and if you don’t, risotto is deceptively easy and quick to make. Yes, it does require some attention on your part, yes, it does require frequent stirring, but it’s EASY, and really only takes 20 minutes or so.
The key to speeding up the process? Use hot chicken stock. I repeat, USE HOT CHICKEN STOCK. If you use a cold or room temperature liquid to cook your risotto, you will bring the temperature of the risotto down each time you add a ladle full of liquid, it will then bring the temperature of the whole dish down and consequently take it much, much longer to cook. I found this out the hard way, when it took me 45 minutes to cook a risotto, trust me, this works.
I’m sooo loving these, and they seem so festive, don’t they? I love the pop of color from the pomegranates, which also happen to give a nice sweet, crunchy surprise when you bite into them.
At first I thought about stuffing them with goat cheese, but liked the idea of having a sauce to dip them in, if you prefer you could skip the sauce, put a little ball of goat cheese in the middle, fry them up as is, and then pop em’ in your mouth until you just can’t stop. (I must always use a Pringles reference when appropriate.)
If you are serving these as an hors d’oeuvre (you should!), put a little bowl of sauce in the middle of all the fried arancini so people can sauce as they please. If you sauce them before or set them in the sauce like I did they’ll get soggy real quick. That is, if they make it to the table at all…
Watch out, these are ridiculously addictive…..
And I said aracini nine times, not too bad…
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ small onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups hot low-sodium chicken stock
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, plus more for garnish
- ¾ cup bread crumbs, divided
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- ½ cup cream or half & half
- Canola oil for frying
- In a medium sauté pan melt butter over a medium heat, add onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Add rice, stir to combine, cook another two minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine, stir until liquid is absorbed. Add ½ cup HOT chicken stock, stir until almost absorbed. Repeat until all stock is gone. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper after every other addition. Risotto is done when the mixture is creamy, and the rice is tender, but still has a bite. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Spread on to a baking sheet to cool.
- Heat about two inches of oil in a large heavy pot to 350 degrees. About a medium heat.
- Once mixture has completely cooled, transfer to a mixing bowl. Add cheese, egg, parsley, pomegranate seeds and ¼ cup breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Form into 1 ½ inch balls.
- Add remaining breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Coat arancini in bread crumbs.
- Fry arancini in batches. Drain on paper towel.
- In a small saucepan, heat cream and goat cheese over a medium low heat, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve arancini with goat cheese fonduta and pomegranate seeds.