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I never met a starch I didn’t like. I love them all. Pasta, potatoes, bread, rice. So it came to my attention recently that I might have a bit of a problem. I might have a rice addiction. Upon looking in the pantry, I noticed that I have eight different kinds of rice. Yes, you read that right. Eight. In case you’re wondering, they are: medium-grain white, long-grain white, Louisiana Popcorn rice, Arborio rice, Jasmine rice, brown Jasmine rice, brown rice and Basmati rice. But you see, they all have different qualities that lend them to specific dishes. The long-grain is for jambalaya, the medium-grain and popcorn are for gumbo, the Jasmines are for when we have asian food, the Basmati is for when we have indian food and the arborio is for making risotto. Which brings us to the arancini. An arancini is really just a fried ball of rice or risotto. Typically, they’re stuffed with something along the lines of a little meat or cheese. These aren’t. So maybe they’re not really arancini at all. You can call them rice balls if it makes you feel better. It doesn’t matter what you call them, they’re delicious.

ImageIt’s important to have the risotto already made and cooled when you are ready to make the arancini. I used this risotto recipe. But you can use any risotto recipe that you’re comfortable with. I also like this one. I usually make the risotto the day before. This arancini recipe calls for about half of the risotto that each of those recipes make. So you can eat it one night and have arancini the next.

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Arancini

  • 2 1/2 cups risotto, cooled
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2- 2 cups dried italian-style bread crumbs, divided
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Pour enough oil in the bottom of a large frying pan to reach a depth of 3 inches. Heat oil to 350 degrees F.

Stir the risotto, eggs, parmesan and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Combine until just mixed. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture, form balls a little larger than a golf ball (I have a small ice-cream scoop that I used). Roll the balls in the remaining bread crumbs to coat. Working in batches, add the balls to the hot oil. Cook until golden brown and heated through. Using a slotted spoon transfer the cooked arancini to paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve hot.

ImageDid I mention that I went to the Farmer’s Market recently? I found lots of great local produce and locally made cheeses and pastries. I’ll definitely be going back. Soon! On this particular visit I found some organic beets. I have to say I was not that familiar with beets, but I wanted to give them a try. In my enthusiasm, I forgot to take a picture of them in all their dirt-covered glory. Oh well. Next time. And there will be a next time!

I cleaned them, trimmed the ends off, squirted them with some olive oil, salt and peppered then placed in a foil packet and roasted until they were done. Times vary depending on the size of your beets. Then I peeled them. I have the purple fingers to prove it too!

Beets go perfectly with a creamy cheese, like a goat cheese or feta. Spinach also goes well with goat and feta.

Spinach Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

  • 8 oz baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 1 Tble lemon juice
  • 3 Tble olive oil
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 medium or 3 small beets, roasted, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • salt + pepper

Place spinach, goat cheese and beets in a large salad bowl. Whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil in a small bowl. Pour dressing over salad. Mix and serve.

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