Delightful Fried Pesto Risotto Balls
Delicious Appetizers for Anytime!
This summer our local supermarket put out a seasonal snack which consisted of risotto covered in crispy breadcrumbs with a smidge of green pesto in the centre. They were baked in the oven to be served warm and they were absolutely amazing!
Below I've outlined my own recipe for similar delightful little appetizers specifically targeted to people who are looking to make something a bit different for the holidays this year! I've used red and green pesto as they both have their own delicious characteristics in addition to the fact that their colours of course suit the festive theme.
There is a bit of work involved in the construction of these squishy pesto-tastic nuggets but the end result is very much worth the effort. They reheat beautifully as well so they can be made in advance!
2 large stock cubes
6 Tablespoons red pesto
6 Tablespoons green pesto
2 large eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
Â¼ cup grated parmesan
Cooking The Risotto
1. Dissolve stock cubes in 800ml boiling water and put to one side.
2. Melt butter in large pan and fry the dry risotto in the melted butter until the grains go translucent.
3. Reduce heat to simmer and slowly add stock a bit at a time allowing the risotto to soak up the moisture. Stir continuously. Repeat until all of the stock has been absorbed.
4. Now you should have a starchy yellow pot of goo. Taste the risotto, the grains should be squishy with a bit of firmness in the centre. If they are still too hard add a little bit more water.
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool. You can expedite this process by spreading the risotto in an even layer across a plate that you've chilled in the fridge.
The Fun Part - Pesto Filling
It is probably best to fill each ball and bread them immediately rather than filling all the balls then breading all the balls then frying. So what you want to do at this stage before you get your hands dirty is.
1. Combine the breadcrumbs with the parmesan on a plate and put to one side.
2. Beat your two eggs in a bowl and put to one side
3. Get your pesto out and open and ready to go
Now it's time to fill and it shall be messy. (please refer to the photos below)
4. Put a palm sized splat of starchy risotto in the palm of your hand
5. Make a nest shape by indenting the centre with your finger
6. Fill centre with pesto
7. Gently close your hand and roll into a ball. Some of the pesto will leak out and this is ok. If you end up squashing pesto everywhere you may have used too much.
Now that you've got your sticky pesto ball formed you want to seal it quickly. To get an extra thick crust it's best to double bread as outlined below.
8. Since the pesto ball is already nice and starchy roll it gently in the breadcrumb mixture immediately WITHOUT dipping in egg.
9. For second coat carefully dip the breaded ball in the egg
10. Roll in breadcrumb mixture again and put to one side
11. Repeat process from step 4 until all 24 balls are breaded.
Coated But Not Fried
Now it's time to fry your tasty creations. Fill a pan (I prefer to use my wok) with enough cooking oil to cover about Â¾ of a single ball. When oil is ready roll in no more than 6 pesto balls at a time (so as to not bring down the temp of the oil too much) and toss them until they're golden all around. Remove from oil and dry on paper towels.
Fry Those Puppies!
Storage And Reheating
If you are making these in advance to reheat the next day then fry all of your balls and allow them to cool completely before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating. To reheat, preheat the oven to 180 c and put balls on a baking tray into the oven for 10 - 15 mins.