I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making the little rice balls they call arancini. It requires leftover risotto, which rarely happens in our house. Risotto is made and eaten at a meal and my P.S. (Partner in Sustenance/ hubby) finishes it off for breakfast. Since said P.S. was out-of-town, I took the chance of making myself a broccoli risotto for dinner then hid the leftovers in the back of the fridge for a couple of days to make arancini.
To make the broccoli risotto I heated my trusty large nonstick skillet with some oil and fried some diced onion until it was beginning to brown around the edges. I added the Arborio rice and stirred, cooking it until it was very lightly turning color. I didn’t want it all browned; just a light browning as it absorbed the oil.
Meanwhile I’d cut up about 3 cups of broccoli into smaller pieces and blanched it in boiling water, then a cold water bath. I didn’t cook it very long, just long enough to set the bright green color. It would cook to an al dente crunch later in the risotto.
Next I added the minced garlic and the white wine to the rice in the skillet, letting it bubble until all of the wine was absorbed into the rice. I always think of this as prep work, letting the rice absorb the oil and wine first gives it the best flavor. It’s the part before we get down to business adding the broth in increments and stirring.
The oil and wine absorbed, I added about 2/3 cup of broth that I kept heated in a saucepan on the back burner. I used a homemade vegetable broth with some leftover water I’d blanched asparagus in at another time. Chicken or beef broth would also work well. It’s just nice to use homemade broths when possible. As the broth was all absorbed into the rice I added another portion until it was all used.
Many risotto makers insist the rice must be stirred constantly from start to finish. I agree with Alton Brown who proved on his show Good Eats that constant stirring isn’t necessary. Once in awhile is just fine. You’ll enjoy making it more often if you do away with the idea that making risotto is incredibly labor intensive!
My rice was just slightly al dente. At that point I added a cup of heavy cream and let the rice bubble until that was absorbed as well. I also added the broccoli so that it would heat through but retain a little bit of crunch for texture.
When the cream was absorbed into the rice I stirred in shredded Parmesan, stirred well one last time and my risotto was done. I loved the broccoli risotto but I like every risotto I’ve ever tasted. I’m a glutton for risotto!
I curled up on the couch with a bowl of risotto and a list of shows on my dvr. I was happy with the broccoli and Parmesan risotto. It was creamy and perfect. And I was excited I had about 4 cups of risotto chilling in the fridge for my next adventure: arancini!
3 cups broccoli; cut into small pieces
1/2 cup white onion; diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine (I used a Mirrasou Sauvignon Blanc)
5 cups hot vegetable, chicken or beef broth (I used homemade vegetable broth)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan; shredded
Salt and pepper to taste (this will depend on the saltiness of your broth)
Blanch broccoli for 2-3 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water with a teaspoon of salted added. Put immediately into a cold water bath for several minutes; drain and set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat add 2 tablespoons of oil and the diced onion. Cook, stirring often until it begins to brown around the edges. Add the rice and stir for 2-3 more minutes until all of the oil has been absorbed.
Add the minced garlic and wine. Stir and let cook until all of the liquid is absorbed into the rice.
Add broth in 1/2 – 2/3 cup increments, letting the liquid be totally absorbed into the rice before adding the next measure of broth. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until all of the broth has been absorbed.
Add the cream and the broccoli and let the risotto cook until nearly all of the cream is absorbed. We want the risotto to still be a little wet and creamy, not dry.
When it is to the right point and you’re happy with the texture, stir in the Parmesan. Your risotto is ready to be served!