Arancini (Rice Balls) and a Rice Blog Hop

Arancini (Rice Balls)

I didn’t think I could love risotto more than I already did. But take leftover risotto, roll it into rice balls, stuff them with cheese, bread and deep fry and you’ve got an entirely new beast. Called arancini (which means little oranges in Italian), this Sicilian specialty is a vegetarian bar snack worth trying. They’re crispy on the outside with a melty, gooey surprise in the middle. And they’re way easier to make than you may think. They require cold risotto so it’s the perfect use for leftovers (and in fact I developed this recipe for an article on leftovers for the next issue of TreeFree Food). Continue reading “Arancini (Rice Balls) and a Rice Blog Hop”

Red Beet and Barley Risotto

Red Beet and Barley Risotto

With Valentine’s Day tomorrow I thought it only appropriate to give you a bright red recipe in honor of the holiday. And, since you’ve probably been inundated with red velvet and chocolate (ahem, like Friday’s Chocolate Covered Strawberries), I figured I should provide a savory, somewhat healthy counterpoint. Beets are nutritional superstars, boasting high levels of folate, maganese, fiber, vitamin C, betaine, and more. And they taste great. Here they add vibrant color and sweet, earthy flavor to barley risotto – a slightly healthier alternative to traditional arborio rice. Although it takes a little longer than steaming, my favorite way to prepare beets is to roast them as I think it brings out the most flavor. I’m sure you can purchase cooked beets to speed up this risotto, but the roasting time is entirely hands off. The barley gives the dish a pleasantly chewy texture, but you could use half or all arborio rice instead. Continue reading “Red Beet and Barley Risotto”

Saffron and Butternut Squash Risotto

I know I’ve already shared a Risotto Milanese recipe with you, and in many ways this Saffron and Butternut Squash Risotto is similar. But there are a number of key changes that set it apart, make it worth its own post. The obvious change, the addition of butternut squash, makes this dish even heartier, and even more appropriate for Fall. I also added some leftover shredded chicken to make it even more of a meal in one, but without it the risotto is a great vegetarian main or side. The other big change I made here is to use a mix of the usual arborio rice and barley. The barley adds a chewy texture, while the arborio rice becomes creamy with constant stirring. Continue reading “Saffron and Butternut Squash Risotto”

Pasta Meets Risotto

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for some time now. It was part of Mark Bittman’s Minimalist series in the New York Times, so I knew it would be reliable. It makes logical sense – why wouldn’t you be able to cook pasta in something other than water? And yet, pasta cooked like risotto just didn’t sound right. Finally, though, this week was the week. There were gorgeous mushrooms as the shuk and this was as good a use as any. Continue reading “Pasta Meets Risotto”

Risotto in the Style of Milan

I brought a small container of saffron back from New York and have been waiting to use it. As the world’s most expensive spice (a pound of dry saffron requires at least 50,000 flowers and 15 hours of manual labor) you can’t just use the stuff willy nilly. On the other hand, a little does go a long way, especially if you soak it in liquid first. But what to use it on? My last saffron recipe, Rigatoni with Wine-Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream, would be hard to live up to. I’d been craving risotto, so Risotto Milanese it was. Continue reading “Risotto in the Style of Milan”