Deep-fried cheese balls, made with  leftover risotto, are as popular in our house as freshly made Risotto all Milanese.  Consequently, we usually make a double recipe to ensure we have rice leftover.

Risotto alla Milanese

To serve 6 to 8

7 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped uncooked beef marrow (optional)*
2 cups plain white raw rice,  preferably Italian (arborio) rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed to a powder
4 tablespoons soft butter
1/2 cup freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan and keep it barely simmering over low heat.
In a heavy 3-quart flameproof casserole, melt four tablespoons of butter over moderate heat.
Cook the onions in the butter, stirring frequently, for 7 to 8 minutes. Do not let them brown.
*Stir in the optional marrow, if you are using it. (I do not bother with this.)
Then add the rice and cook, stirring , for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the grains glisten with butter and are somewhat opaque. Pour in the wine and boil it until it is almost completely absorbed. (If you prefer the rice without wine, just substitute one-half cup of stock for the wine. Then add 2 cups of the simmering stock to the rice and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.
Add 2 more cups of stock and cook, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, stir the saffron into 2 cups of stock and let it steep for a few minutes. Then pour it over the rice.
Cook until the stock is completely absorbed.
By now the rice should be tender. If it is still firm, add the remaining stock—one-half cup at a time—continue cooking and stirring until the rice is soft. Stir in remaining four tablespoons softened butter and the one-half cup grated cheese with a fork, taking care not to mash the rice.
Serve at once while the rice is creamy and piping hot.

In Milan an environs, Risotto alla Milanese is often served alongside Osso Buco,  also posted on this site.  


                (from Time-Life, Cooking of Italy)

2 eggs
2 cups freshly made or leftover risotto
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
                                        (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Vegetable oil or shortening for deep frying

Beat the eggs lightly with a fork until they are just combined.
Then add the risotto and stir gently but thoroughly, taking care not to mash the rice. Scoop up 1 tablespoon of the mixture in a spoon, place a cube of mozzarella in the middle, and top with another spoonful of risotto. Press the two spoons together or use your hands to shape a ball. Roll the ball in bread crumbs and place on wax paper. Similarly, shape other balls.
The balls may be fried at once, but they are easier to handle if refrigerated for 30 minutes
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 375 F.
Preheat the oven to 250 F.
Line a large baking dish with paper towels and put the dish in the oven.
Fry the balls, 4 or 5 at a time, for about five minutes until they are golden brown and the cheese has melted. Transfer to the baking dish to drain.
They may be kept warm in the oven for 10 minutes or so if they must wait.

Both versions appearing here are adapted from Time-Life's International Series, Cooking of Italy, one of a set of cookbooks printed in the late sixties, now out of print, but worth finding if you can.

You can find the above recipe(s) by tapping here on the Home Cookin' index.


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