Fried Risotto Balls with Classic Spicy Tomato Sauce

Utterly addictive, these crispy fried risotto balls are filled with melted mozzarella and are heavenly when dipped in our Classic Spicy Tomato Sauce. Easy to make ahead and fry at the last minute, they make for the perfect appetizer. You can also freeze the risotto balls once made to keep for impromptu gatherings.

Makes approximately 12-14 balls
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups stock (vegetable or chicken), heated
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
3 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Making the risotto:
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and then gently sauté the onion for about 6-8 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the rice and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the wine. Cook until evaporated and then begin to add the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the stock has cooked down before adding the next. Stir frequently as you are adding your stock.  After about 10 minutes, add the saffron threads and mix thoroughly. Continue adding the stock until the rice is tender and creamy, approximately 20 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese, stir well and season to taste.  Leave the risotto to cool.

Making the balls:
Once the risotto has cooled, add 1 egg and mix in well. Whisk the remaining 2 eggs in a bowl and have another bowl ready with breadcrumbs. Make a 2” ball out of the risotto as if you were making a meatball. Add a small square of mozzarella cheese to the center and cover the risotto around it. Once you have a round ball, dip in the egg mixture and then cover with breadcrumbs and leave to rest on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until you’ve used up all the risotto.  At this point, you can freeze the balls or leave them in the fridge for a few hours or go ahead and fry them.

Frying the balls:
Pour enough oil in a large Dutch oven so there’s about 2-3 inches of oil. Heat until oil is very hot but not smoking and gently add the balls in batches so they’re not overcrowded. Fry until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes and then drain on paper towels.

Serve immediately with Classic Spicy Tomato sauce.

Melissa Vitelli