Welcome to the brand, new (or as my Yiayia would say with her Greek accent, ‘brain new’) section of Recipes for Serena. These are not quite recipes, but more meal ideas or posts that are tricky to categorise!
The first cabs off the rank are arancini. I made a rather large batch of pumpkin, mascarpone and sage risotto when my dear friend, Jodie, came to visit. As I live in a part of Melbourne that actually does have kangaroos hanging out in its parks, I decided to take Jodie for a little drive to show her our local wildlife. A lovely idea, except my risotto was ready to be served and, as I’m sure many of you know, you can’t leave a ready risotto for too long unless you want to eat gluey rice.
After some kangaroo spotting and scenic touring, we came back to what was a solid block of gluey risotto. I warmed it up and added a little (hmm… more like a lot) white wine to loosen up the rice. It helped somewhat. Although this risotto was far from my finest, it was tasty and muy alcoholic, with a consistency perfecto for arancini. As Mr.R and Jodie discussed neuroscience, specifically the notion of thought processes being analysed on a molecular level (see… I was listening!), I sat there formulating a little semi-scientific process of my own – turning gluggy risotto into fluffy, soft pillows of love (yes, that’s what I call them… don’t laugh). Arancini really is the perfect leftover food.
I had about 4 cups worth of cold, leftover risotto, but any amount will do. I find this works best cold so that the arancini don’t become too sticky when being handled. Also, you can use any type of risotto for this: mixed mushroom; mint, pea and prosciutto; garlic prawn (usually sans prawns because I would have eaten them all!); and of course, pumpkin, mascarpone and sage, for which I will provide the recipe at a later stage (a non-gluggified version).
Prepare a plate with about half a cup of flour. Take a good spoonful of risotto and place it on a board. Flatten it out so that it is roughly 10 x 8 cm. Of course, they can be smaller if you don’t have a great deal of risotto. Add a bit of something special in the centre of your risotto pancake. I added a teaspoon of mascarpone and some chopped up bits of pancetta. You could also add some finely chopped herbs, depending on the type of risotto.
Form your risotto pancake into a ball, so that the filling is in the centre of the ball, then roll it in the flour, ensuring it is evenly coated. You could also then coat the arancini in beaten egg, followed by breadcrumbs, but I like this lighter version.