Wednesday, 23 February 2011

... a random recipe



... when i set this challenge back at the beginning of the month I think i got slightly carried away with the actual setting of the challenge and for some reason I completely put the thought to the back of my mind that i, myself would actually have to complete an entry... and suddenly last week, as some of your fabulous entries began to come in, I started to panic...

... I have a lot of cookbooks... many of them I have merely opened for the food-porn pictures alone... what if I pick something I would just never make in a million years?!?!... what if I got pickle... or brawn... or those bloody trendy macaroons for goodness sake... but as i took my books from the shelf and asked The Viking to come in and mediate, I started to realise what fun this was going to be... and what a true test of both cook and cookbook this really was...

... and I got a total surprise... Arancini from Giorgio Locatelli's brilliant Made In Italy... it's one of those vast volumes of a book which contains lovely stories about Italy peppered with delicious recipes... I think I 'acquired' this book from when we produced the Observer Food Monthly Awards back in 2008 and I think it's sat on my shelf for years without even a merest glance from me...


... and the punishment for ignoring this book is Arancini... fried and stuffed risotto balls... so not only do I have to make the Arancini but I have to make a risotto and a ragu before I can make the dish I'm supposed to make... blimey!


Arancini stuffed with mozzarella and ragu


you're supposed to make this dish with left over risotto and ragu... but i don't ever remember there ever being any left over anything in this house...


Vegetarian Ragu

1 onion - finely chopped
1 carrot - finely chopped
1 celery - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - crushed
1 pkt Quorn mince or similar (or use mushrooms)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 glass red wine
1 cup of veg stock
2 bay leaves

- saute the onions, then celery, then carrots and garlic until soft.

- add the mince, tomatoes, wine, stock bay leaves and peas and simmer gently for a good hour with the lid on, then a further 20 minutes without the lid until it has reduced down into an unctuous gloop.

Saffron Risotto

2.5 litres good veg stock
50g butter
1 onion - finely chopped
400g good risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
1 glass white wine
a teaspoon of saffron threads

- saute the onions in butter until soft

- add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the glass of wine and stir again

- prepare the stock to include the saffron

- ladle in the stock slowly, stirring in between each ladle-full until the moisture is absorbed, continue until the stock has all been used.

- allow the risotto to cool completely before using

Arancini


1 portion of risotto
1/2 a portion of ragu
a ball of buffalo mozzarella - torn onto small portions
a handful of basil leaves
3 eggs (beaten)
flour
breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for deep frying

- take a small ball of risotto in the palm of your hands and make an indent with your thumb

- spoon a little ragu into the indent, add some mozzarella and basil and then close up your hand so that the risotto encloses the filling into a ball

- make sure there are no gaps in the ball, then dip first into the egg, then the flour, then the egg again and finally the breadcrumbs

- deep fry the balls (170) in the veg oil, don't do too many at a time as they need room to fry and go golden all over... should take 4-5 Min's... I don't have a deep fryer so did it in a pan, which worked fine.

... you can also freeze the balls before frying and then fry for 10-15 Min's...

the arancini before coating

... I'm so glad i made these... they are something I've often admired but never made... it's doubtful I'd make them again in a hurry but in fact, if ever I make risotto if I just make a little extra these balls would make a great party food... you could stuff them with so many things such as pesto, or sausage or just plain old cheese...

so... don't forget for those who haven't entered yet, you still have until the end of the next weekend... you'll find the rules here... happy random recipe choosing!

eat and of course enjoy!

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