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Side Vegetarian Appetizer
Deep-Fried Risotto image

Deep-Fried Risotto

Put your dinner guests on the wrong foot with this side dish or appetizer. They will not know what they will bite into until they do!

The risotto can be made ahead of time, so wrapping up this dish will only take about fifteen minutes.

Are you familiar with Dutch "Bitterballs"? Even during a visit to Kiev, Ukraine, I saw a sign outside a bar advertising them. This recipe is a look-alike, but the filling is a little more sophisticated.

Making the Risotto

People get very religious about risottos; I am not going to try and convince you my way is best, but is works every time.

You can make this risotto a day or two before the actual dinner; but at least two hours before assembling the Risotto balls.

Put some olive oil in a pan; add some finely chopped shallot and fry for a minute, then add risotto rice and make sure each single piece of rice is coated.

Good rice is important as this will determine the texture of the risotto. Arborio is the rice of choice for many. This rice is named after a village in Piemonte in Northwestern Italy.

Map of Northern Italy with Arborio highlighted

Add your favorite risotto ingredient and fry some more; I used wild mushrooms, but please do consider sea food as an alternative. Add some chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Then add a glass of dry white wine and wait until it is absorbed. 

Now add stock, a little bit each time, until it is absorbed. Repeat until the rice is not quite soft but still has a little bit of a bite. Unlike regular risotto, which you would like to be slightly runny, this time you would like it to be drier. Stir some Parmesan cheese through the mixture.

Deep-Fried Risotto Balls

Putting it all together

Let the risotto cool down completely. Form little balls using your hands. In between, rinse your hands with cold water to prevent the rice sticking to your hands. Chill in the fridge until firm.

Heat the vegetable oil to a temperature of about 180° Celsius.

Meanwhile, set up three bowls; one filled with flour, one with egg wash, one with panko (Japanese bread crumbs).

Take the chilled balls of risotto one by one, roll each through the flour, then coat with egg, and finally roll through the breadcrumbs. Deep-fry until browned. Serve with some nice mustard, truffle mayonaise or you favorite topping!