Wednesday, January 09, 2013

pumpkin arancini (risotto balls!) with cranberry chipotle sauce

A few months ago I made a meal that I assured would get you laid... pumpkin risotto with vanilla scallops. Ironically, when I made this sultry meal, my hunny was out of the country, leaving me to my own devices... and too much risotto. When life gives you too much risotto... wait. NO SUCH THING. But if you make more risotto than you can eat in one night, you MUST use the leftovers (PS, cooked risotto freezes pretty well for about 3 months) for Arancini. Arancini = Balls. Done.

Instead of frying, which, while dreamy, is messy and inconvenient to do at home, I used the baking method that I found on The Curvy Carrot blog. They are double breaded, resulting a tooth-pleasing golden brown crunch, without any greasiness or mess. For the dipping sauce I started with one of pumpkin's best buddies, cranberries. The pumpkin risotto is slightly sweet, so some heat and smoke from canned chipotles compliments these balls nicely. 

Pumpkin Risotto Arancini 
3 cups leftover pumpkin risotto
6 string cheese sticks, cut into 6 even pieces each (or 3 dozen cubes of mozzarella or other melty cheese of your choice)
1 1/2  cups bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
salt and pepper, to taste 
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Form about 2 Tablespoons of risotto into a round disc in the palm of your hand. press a piece of cheese into the center and gather up the sides of the disc around the cheese and form a ball. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the risotto. 
Use a fork to beat the eggs, milk and Chinese 5-spice together in a bowl. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Dip the risotto balls in the bread crumbs to coat, then dip in the egg mixture, then back into the breadcrumbs. 
Set finished balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray (or lightly brush) the balls with Olive oil.  Bake at 375º for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with cranberry chipotle sauce and lightly-dressed salad.

Cranberry Chipotle Sauce 
-1 10-oz pkg. frozen cranberries
-2 chipotles from a can, chopped fine, plus 3 Tablespoons of the can's adobo sauce
-1/4 cup sugar
-juice from 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)
-2 teaspoons cumin
-about 1 cup water
-salt and pepper to taste 
Combine all the ingredients except the water and salt and pepper in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once it starts to simmer, mash the cranberries with a potato masher and cook for about 5 minutes. Thin sauce with water until you get the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning. Serve with risotto balls, or use on chicken wings or pork ribs!

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