Tag Archives: risotto

Corn Risotto and Stuffed Risotto Balls

23 Jul

Fried risotto balls!

I have been seeing delicious corn recipes all over the place recently- charred corn salsa, corn tacos, grilled corn with feta, but yet when I impulsively bought two ears of corn at the farmers market I was at a loss for what to do with them. I decided to make risotto, and threw in some snow peas for good measure.  The fresh corn goes well with creamy risotto, and both the corn and the snow peas add a crunch to the finished dish.  In addition to the Parmesan that goes into pretty much any risotto, I crumbled feta in right at the end and sprinkled some on top of the risotto.  It was a delicious and filling summery dish, and (bonus!) I was able to make fried and stuffed risotto balls with the copious leftovers.

Yum corn risotto

Since risotto is a dish that needs to be made in large amounts I am always able to make at least three meals out of a batch, but this time I decided to play around and make risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella and fried.  The result was arguably even better than the risotto was when I first made it.  The cold risotto is mixed with breadcrumbs, egg, and more herbs, then a cube of mozzarella or other melty cheese is placed in the middle of a golf-ball sized risotto ball, and they are rolled in more breadcrumbs and fried to golden brown perfection.  These would make a great appetizer or starter at a party, but for me, several of them made an extremely satisfying dinner.

Fresh Corn and Snap Pea Risotto
Serves 6

6 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2-3 ears of corn)
5 oz snow peas, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup crumbled Feta chees
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

After chopping the vegetables, bring the chicken stock and bay leaf to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the oil and sautee for 2-3 minutes, until softened.  Next add the rice and cook until opaque, about 3 minutes.  Add wine and cook until absorbed, another minute or so.  Then begin adding the stock, 1 cup at a time.  Add each cup of stock and cook over medium heat until absorbed, stirring frequently.  When the stock is absorbed into the rice add the next cup, and continue until all of the stock is gone and risotto is cooked, about 25 minutes.  Stir in the Parmesan, butter, basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Crumble the feta into the risotto and mix in, then sprinkle plates with more feta if desired.

Stuffed Risotto Balls
Adapted from Giada de Laurentis’ Everyday Italian

Serves 4-6 (I assume as an appetizer, as I ate all of mine.)

2 cups cooked and cooled risotto
1 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
Vegetable oil for frying

Put 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.  In a bowl combine 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs, the risotto, Parmesan, basil, and eggs.  Mix to combine, and then begin to form the balls.  With damp hands take about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture and shape into golf-ball sized balls.  Make an indent in the center of the risotto ball and add a cube of mozzarella, then cover the whole.  Roll the risotto balls into the breadcrumbs to coat. In a large saucepan, add about an inch of vegetable oil.  Heat over medium-high heat until about 350 degrees- to test without a thermometer fry a piece of bread in the oil, it should brown in about 2 minutes.  In batches, fry the rice balls, turning occasionally, until golden brown- about 4-5 minutes.  Take out of the oil and drain on paper towels before serving.


Restaurant Review: Cafe Dupont

5 May

Mmm, meat. Steak tartare at Cafe Dupont

Our Easter weekend full of delicious home-cooked food in Virginia was finished off by an excellent meal back in DC: dinner at Cafe Dupont. Mother Spice was staying in the attached Hotel Dupont for the night, and we decided to keep it simple and have dinner downstairs.
Roxie had been to the bar (Bar Dupont. Are you catching on to the naming scheme?) before for their happy hours, 4-6 every night, when their usually $11 cocktails are half price. Of course, the opportunity for these cocktails was not passed up at dinner. Roxie and her roommate Lily are partial to the Alan’s Love, and Mother Spice enjoyed the Dupont Imperial.

Fresh pea risotto

Choosing what to eat proved to be much more difficult than choosing cocktails, however, as none of us was starving but pretty much everything on the menu looked tempting. We eventually decided to split appetizers– Lily and Mom shared a pea risotto that looked excellent, while Roxie and I decided the time had finally come to try steak tartare. I enjoyed it very much– it was excellently spiced with a velvety texture, though the steak flavor was very subtle.

Heaven(ly scallops) on a plate

For mains, Roxie and Mom both got the mussels with saffron– huge buckets of mussels, with accompanying french fries. While the mussels were delicious, to me, the letdown of the night were the fries. Not quite chunky fries and not quite the thin, crispy variety, they weren’t excellent but that didn’t stop me from stealing many. Lily got the appetizer crab cake as her main, which she polished off sharply. And though I was tempted by the steak frites (and well, everything) I ended up getting seared scallops on a bed of lemon risotto, with asparagus and a ramp pesto. Words cannot express how much I loved this dish– seasonal, with three huge scallops perfectly seared and complemented by the creamy risotto underneath. I also appreciated the modest portioning (well, except for the amount of mussels)– I am always a bit put off by restaurants that give you enough for two people.
Nonetheless, we were too full for dessert. An incentive, perhaps, to return again, although I didn’t really need one.

Pumpkin Risotto!

15 Oct

I absolutely love everything about fall… the colors, the gorgeous weather, and, of course, the food. I’ll eat pretty much anything with the word “pumpkin” or “squash” in the title, and while apples aren’t my favorite fruit to eat plain, I love apple desserts. So I knew I had to buy a butternut squash when I saw them at the farmer’s market last weekend, and immediately knew what to make with it: risotto. One bonus with this recipe is that the squash doesn’t get peeled until after you’ve roasted it—I know I get scared off by any recipe that starts with “cut and peel the squash!”

Ready for roasting

I love risotto because you can put pretty much anything into it. Once you’ve learned the basic technique, it’s easy to play around and throw in what you have in your kitchen. I made an awesome version this summer with pancetta and peach, but this squash version is probably my all-time favorite, and I always look forward to having it come fall.  This recipe is from the River Café cookbook (unfortunately, as with a lot of our family cookbooks, the measurements are English… I’ve done my best to convert). I don’t think it’s crucial to be very exacting with measurements when it comes to risotto: I don’t tend to measure the broth, I just know when it’s done because the rice is cooked and creamy! I cut down on the rice this time because my squash was pretty small and I wanted a good ratio, and I left out the alcohol but it was still delicious. The key is really in the technique more than anything: you want to really constantly massage the broth into the rice. It’s a pretty labor-intensive dish, but doesn’t take too long once the squash is roasted (which I did a couple of hours ahead of time). So give it a try some time! Just please, don’t try to make risotto what it is not: fat-free, or non-caloric. Just accept the cheese.

For size reference, my squash was slightly bigger than a Tigger stapler

Pumpkin Risotto, Adapted from The River Café Cookbook

Equipment: Baking sheet, tin foil, bowl, saucepan, heavy-bottomed frying pan, ladle, wooden spoon, cheese grater, large knife.

About 2 pounds (850 g) pumpkin or squash, whole or 1 large slice, with skin
Sea salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh or 1 tsp dried marjoram or oregano
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thickly sliced
5 tbsp olive oil
4 cups (1 liter) low sodium chicken stock
1 ¼ sticks (5 oz) butter, at room temperature
1 medium onion, preferably red, finely diced
10 oz (300 g) risotto rice
1/3rd cup (75 ml) extra dry white vermouth, or white wine
6 oz Parmesan, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 425 F/ 220 C

Remove seeds and fiber from the center of the pumpkin or squash, and cut the flesh and skin into large chunks. Place, skin side down, on a baking tray brushed with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and scatter with the herbs and garlic. Pour over three tablespoons of oil, cover with tin foil and bake until soft, shriveled, and beginning to brown at edges, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then scrape the flesh from the skins and reserve with the juices.

Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan on the stove. You can turn off the heat and cover with a lid once it is hot. Meanwhile, melt 6 tbsp of the butter and remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add the rice and, off the heat, stir until the rice becomes totally coated, this only takes a minute. Return to the heat, and add enough hot stock to just cover the rice, about 2 ladlefuls. Simmer, stirring, until the rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid. Continue to add more stock as each previous addition is absorbed. After about 15-20 minutes, nearly all the stock will have been absorbed by the rice; each grain will have a creamy coating, but will remain al dente.

Add the remaining butter in small pieces, the pumpkin, vermouth and Parmesan. Be careful not to overstir so the pumpkin doesn’t break up. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be kept in fridge and reheat fairly well.