11/9/09

Risotto Croquettes

On Demetrius's request, I'd like to take a moment to talk about risotto croquettes. It's based on this Italian recipe to use up leftover risotto. You see, risotto is a quite delicious, but also quite filling, and often times, one has enough left over for one or two servings, tops, but not enough to take the effort of reheating it the next day. Instead, one makes little deep fried croquettes, and leaves them out on the counter the next day for the family to snack on during the day. It's quite a popular treat in bars and cafes in Italy. They're crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and heaven all around.

In the original recipe, one makes a pot of risotto. One serves it along with a generous helping of green salad, some freshly ground black pepper, and plenty of lovely wine. Of course, with all Italian food, it is required that one have over a large group of family or friends to share it with. It is absolutely required that one tell stories, laugh, and joke, and have a wonderful time while eating it. You do not eat risotto quickly. You savour every creamy dreamy bite. You taste all the subtle flavours that the cook took time in developing slowly. After eating your fill, you sit back, and enjoy the company of your friends, the cool crisp wine, the pleasant breezes, and just let everything settle before getting up to do anything else.

The next day, you rummage around your fridge for a snack, and find that little box of risotto that you had left over from your meal the previous night. But you also look at your expanding waist line, and realise that maybe having little balls of deep fried risotto wouldn't be the kindest thing to do to your wardrobe. You want to continue to fit into it as much as possible.

What to do?

Bake!

At Chow, we don't use left over risotto. We make a fresh batch. We let it cool thoroughly (and get downright chilled). Then, on a lightly oiled parchment-lined baking sheet, we form the risotto into little 2-bite rounds, and space them apart evenly. They get quickly flattened out, to maximise the crispy surface area. Finally, they go into the oven till they're golden brown and crispy on the outside, and tender and creamy on the inside. They're allowed to cool to room temperature before removing from the parchment, and are arranged on a plate, ready to be devoured. It's quite delicious with any tomato or mustard based dressing or sauce. And, just like our Italian teachers, they are best eaten in the company of good friends.
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