Arancini with Peas and Mozzarella
Makes 15-18; time consuming but good
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1.5 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 cup flour
2-3 cups fine dry bread crumbs or panko
salt to taste
1.5 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
18 fresh or frozen peas
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add 1 cup of the stock to the pan and cook, stirring, until all the stock is absorbed. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 25 minutes. Try to get the risotto as dry as possible. Stir in the Parmesan, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
3. Transfer the risotto to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and 1 egg. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the rice and refrigerate overnight.
4. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a shallow bowl, beat the remaining 3 eggs. Put the flour and bread crumbs on separate plates. Season the bread crumbs with salt. Using moistened hands, form rice into 2-inch balls. Tuck a piece of mozzarella and a pea in the center of each rice ball and seal any holes. Set the balls on the baking sheet. The balls will be mushy and hard to hold together at this point.
5. Dredge the rice balls in the flour, tapping off any excess, squeezing lightly to compact ball. Working with 1 at a time, dip each ball in the egg, then coat with bread crumbs, rolling and pressing it into a tight, compact ball. At this point the ball should hold together just fine.
6. Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet. When the oil is very hot, add 5 rice balls and cook over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp all over, about 8 minutes. Drain the balls on paper towels, then transfer to a large platter. Repeat until all arancini are fried. Sprinkle the arancini lightly with salt and serve.
Can also be frozen (after frying) for 2-3 weeks. Thaw and reheat in a 350 degree oven until heated through. NOTE: Not quite as good as freshly fried; rice gets a little mushy.