Thursday, November 7, 2013

Arancini AKA Rice Balls

    Last nights bacon and asparagus risotto turn into tonight's arancini, translated from Italian it means little oranges. Whenever I make risotto or rice I always make extra so I can enjoy these little crunchy and creamy treats. There is no "recipe" per say but a technique. All you have to do is add an egg, some bread crumbs to bind up the rice so you can roll it into slightly firm balls. If you have plain rice you can add anything you like as long as its not too moist, cheese and pepperoni is really good stuffed into the center like a little surprise, I always add some fresh parsley for brightness. You can even make these with boxed rice or left over rice from your Chinese take out, again the possibilities are endless.... Tonight I added some grated mozzarella to my risotto because it was what I had on hand in the fridge, once your rice mixture is the right consistency roll into small balls about the size of a ping pong ball, roll the balls into breadcrumbs and shallow fry on all sides until golden brown. They are a perfect little snack anytime of the day at room temperature. I love to make these and I make them often!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mushroom, Spinach and Goat Cheese Raviolo

    Tonight I was feeling a little creative so I opened the fridge and started pulling out ingredients I needed to use, this is what I came up with. I love using gyoza wrappers for a quick ravioli, it took me less than an hour to put these together, the filling possibilities are endless.
For the raviolo I used:
1 pkg gyoza wrappers (makes 24 raviolo)
1lb shitake mushrooms
1 bag baby spinach
1 3oz log of goat cheese (I used garlic and herb flavored)
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
a splash of prosecco
salt and pepper to taste
Finely chopped the shitake mushrooms saute in the oil and butter mixture until all the liquid is evaporated and are slightly browned, season with salt and pepper and add the prosecco. Cook down again until all the liquid is evaporate, set aside and let cool. Now cook the spinach in the same method, squeeze dry and chop. Add the cooled mushrooms and spinach to a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, mix well. Add a 1/2 teaspoon the the mixture to the bottom half of the gyoza, wet the edges of the top half of the gyoza, press together to form the raviolo. When all are complete decide what kind of sauce you want, it can be as simple as a brown butter or a light alfredo sauce is what I used tonight. I also garnished it with a little bacon and parsley.

*this is a really impressive dinner to cook for friends with minimal effort, they can also be made ahead and frozen for a later use
**boil quickly about a minute or two is all you need so make sure the sauce is waiting for the raviolo
***like I said the filling possibilities are endless, let your imagination run wild and happy cooking!!!