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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arancini with Smoked Mozarella and Tomato Concassé

Left over risotto makes a very good stuffed arancini
I often make an extra large quantity of risotto (it doesn't matter which kind) so that I can make some arancini with the leftovers.  It then becomes an amazing blend of flavors and textures.  The crispness of the outer shell accentuates the creaminess of the risotto and the melted mozzarella core.  Served with a light tomato concassé (chopped tomatoes with onion and garlic) and some good quality olive oil, this makes a great, easy leftover meal.

You will need:
For the Arancini

  • Leftover risotto (the quantity you have will determine the size of the arancini balls)
  • Smoked mozzarella, scarmoza (cut in 1/2'' cubes) or you can use baby mozzarella balls
  • 2 egg beaten and seasoned with a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs (or panko breadcrumbs)

  1. Season the mozzarella (if it needs it) and cover it with the risotto (it will be sticky and will hold well) to form a ball;
  2. Place the risotto balls in the refrigerator for about 1 hour (to set);
  3. Prepare the breading station by putting flour in one deep dish, seasoned beaten eggs in another deep dish and finally the breadcrumbs to which you can add some dry parsley flakes;
  4. Start by covering the arancini balls with flour (the flour serves as a base to ensure that the next step, the egg mixture, will stick to the risotto).  It should be well coated with flour but not thick, so tap off any extra;
  5. Dip the arancini into the egg mixture coating it well and then into the breadcrumbs.
  6. Return the arancini to the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour before frying.
  7. Heat oil to about 350° F(170° C).  Immerse the arancini and fry until golden (turning to ensure equal coloring).  If you do not have a deep fryer, you can use a deep pan, fill with about 1 inch of oil and turn the balls as they color. (Be careful when working with hot oil - watch it carefully).
  8. Remove to a paper towel to blot off excess oil and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

before breading

panure (breading)
breaded and ready for frying

For the Tomato Concassé

  • 4 large tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced (cut a cross on the top of the tomato, remove the stem end and plunge in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds.  Then plunge in some ice water to stop the cooking process.  The peel will come right off.  Cut in quarters and remove the center seeds).
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 large chopped garlic clove (use garlic press)
  • 2 generous tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • Salt, pepper
  • Fresh basil

  1. Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat.  
  2. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes to soften (no color);
  3. Add the crushed garlic (be careful as garlic burns very easily) and sauté for about one minute;
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste (if you find the flavor is too acidic, add a pinch of sugar);
  5. Let cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes (to remove the excess water from the tomatoes);
  6. Season with salt, pepper;
  7. Add the chopped basil at the very end (it should not cook or it will blacken).
  8. Place the tomato concassé on a plate and drizzle with good quality olive oil.  
  9. Place the arancini on the tomatoes and serve with more fresh basil.
Note:  You can roast some cherry tomatoes that are still on the vine to decorate the plate.  Just drizzle with some olive oil, salt and thyme and cook in 350 oven until they just pop.  

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