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Leftovers reborn.

Posted on 2007.10.21 at 17:16

Fall is here, so I've started up the oven again, roasting chicken and butternut squash and turnips and all sorts of good things. The chicken--butterflied, for quicker cooking--is one of my favorites, since it keeps me in dinners for almost a week. For example, last week's butterflied roast chicken with roasted potatoes, turnips, butternut squash, and roasted garlic gravy got eaten as-is for Sunday dinner.

The dark quarters and sides made two more meals, with the meat reheated in the broiler to crisp the skin back up.

1/2 of one of the breasts, the last of the potatoes and turnips, and the last of the gravy became a tasty chicken hash.

The bones--along with the back and neck from the butterflying process and the bones frozen from another week's roast chicken--went into my stock pot, along with an onion, two carrots peeled and cut in chunks, some whole peppercorns, and a few branches of fresh thyme.

That stock, along with the remainder of the butternut squash,and a splash of white wine became last night's lush, creamy butternut squash risotto.

And this evening? The leftover risotto became crispy arancini, stuffed with cubes of fresh mozerella, a pinch of finely sliced fresh sage, and a paper thin piece of prociutto di Parma, served with a glass of the wine that went into the risotto. Mmmm. Fried. And cheese.

Butternut Squash Arancini
Makes 6 Baseball Sized Arancini

1 egg
2 tsp water
3/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cups peanut or canola oil

2 cups cold butternut squash risotto (though any other type would work just as well, and you could change up the filling to suit--a ground meat ragu with peas and cubes of mozerella is the traditional way to go)
2 oz prociutto, sliced paper thin
2 oz fresh mozerella cut into 1/4 in cubes
1 tsp fresh sage, finely sliced

Put the oil in a small, deep saucepan and turn the heat to medium. While the oil is heating, prepare the eggs and breading.

Beat the egg and water in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mix the breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in a large shallow bowl (a pie pan also works well) and set aside.

Tear the prociutto into 2-3 in pieces. Take a piece of prociutto and sprinkle it with a pinch of sage, then top it with a cube of cheese (as you get better, you may be able to fit two pieces in each croquette, but start with one). Wrap the cheese and sage up in the prociutto to make a little packet.

Scoop out 1/3 cup of cold risotto and make a small well in the center. Insert the cheese and prociutto bundle and close it into the center of the rice, making a little rice ball.

Dip the rice ball in the egg mixture to coat, then roll it in the crumbs to get a thin coating.

Set the breaded rice ball on a rack set over a sheet pan and repeat until all of the risotto is gone.

When the oil reaches 360 degrees, carefully lower in two arancini--you don't want to crowd the pan. Fry until the coating is deep golden brown, turning so that all of the sides get cooked. It will take 1-2 minutes per croquette. Drain the finished arancini on a rack set over a sheet pan and serve hot.


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