The food: Homemade Arancini
After extolling arancini in general in my last post, and happening upon a recipe for citrus arancine in Bon Appetit magazine, taken from a Georgia restaurant called Cakes and Ale, I decided to attempt making my own.
In my (lack of) wisdom, I did not follow the Cakes and Ale recipe (too complicated) and devised my own mashup recipe, which began with leftover oven-baked sage and saffron risotto made according to a favorite Martha Stewart Living recipe.
I stirred some minced lemon rind into the risotto, whipped up a stuffing made of 2 T. ricotta cheese, 2 T. chopped spinach and a sprinkling of nutmeg, beat an egg and laid out some panko breadcrumbs on a plate.
The assembly process that followed didn’t go too well – the risotto was sticky and hard to work with, I had trouble inserting the spinach and ricotta mixture into the misshaped balls I devised, and more trouble reforming the balls after the insertion. The next steps – dipping the mal-formed lumps into the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs – were not smoothly executed either, as you can see from the sorry looking results before frying.
Having come this far, I went ahead and pan-fried (not deep-fried – I didn’t have the strength to deep-fry) the balls, or should I say, patties, in 2 T. olive oil, and made a sauce of strained pureed tomatoes mixed with a little cream and some chopped basil.
Eh, voila! Citrus sage saffron arancini stuffed with spinach and ricotta in a basil tomato cream sauce.
Okay, they were more like pan-fried stuffed risotto cakes than real arancini, but they tasted good, and made me appreciate all the more the artistry of the restaurant chefs who make the genuine article way better than a mashup cook like me ever could.