Last night, I had to work late for a reception at the theatre. It made for a long start to the week, but over the years I’ve learned the best trick to getting through events such as these is to befriend the caterer. Luckily, the caterer last night was one of the best I’ve ever worked with, and they took very good care of me. My favorite thing on the menu were the risotto balls-fried balls of creamy, cheesy risotto served with a spicy mayo sauce. I immediately decided that I needed to recreate these at home, and after some searching I’m confident I’ve found a recipe that will get me pretty close to the gooey original.
6 cups risotto, cooked, spread on a baking sheet, chilled
8 cups vegetable oil, for frying
24 (1/4 pound) Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 cubes
2 cups flour
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups bread crumbs, fine
Dip fingers in water and shape 2 rounded tablespoons chilled risotto into a (1 1/2″) ball around a cube of Mozzarella. Roll in palm of hands to make a smooth ball. Place ball on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Repeat until you have formed 32 balls.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil to 360ºF-370ºF. (Use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature). Put flour, eggs and bread crumbs in separate bowls. For each risotto ball: roll in flour and shake off excess; dip in egg and let excess drip off; roll in bread crumbs; transfer to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Using a metal slotted spoon or skimmer, lower six balls into the oil. Fry until golden brown, approximately 3 to 3 1/2 minutes per batch of six. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.