So here is course 2:
Mozzarella-Stuffed Rice Balls
I tend to love anything with the words 'mozzarella' and 'fried' in their description, so deep-fried mozzarella rice balls sounded ace. They were tricky (and messy) to make but taste awesome. I found the measurements to be a bit off in the recipe, and this was left with WAY too much mozzarella at the end (although I guess I could have stuffed each ball with a bigger cube of cheese...) I had five large rice balls and was left VERY full, so you could easily modify the portion size to suit.
Yet again from Good Housekeeping Step-By-Step Vegetarian Cookbook.
1 red onion
150ml dry white wine
275g Arborio rice
1 litre vegetable stock
salt and pepper
25g parmesan cheese (it says freshly grated, but I used a pre-grated bag)
2 eggs, beaten
125g mozzarella cheese
small basil leaves (one per rice ball)
125g dried white breadcrumbs (I bought a cheap ciabatta roll which was slight stale and put it through the blender)
oil, for deep frying
1. To make the risotto, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Pour in the wine and boil rapidly until almost totally reduced. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and wine.
2. Add a ladleful of stock and simmer, stirring, until absorbed. Continue adding stock ladle by ladle until the rice is tender and creamy but still has some bite to it; this should take about 20 minutes. Make sure each addition of stock is absorbed before adding the next. (You may not need to use all of the stock).
3. Season generously and stir in the Parmesan. Allow to cool completely (it was at this point I finished cooking and ate my soup). Beat the eggs into the cold risotto. Cut the mozzarella into small cubes (one for each rice ball you plan to make).
4. With moistened hands, take 1 tbsp risotto and spread in the palm of one hand. Lay a small basil leaf and a cube of mozzarella in the middle.
5. Take another 1 tbsp of risotto and place over the mozzarella and basil to enclose. Shape into a smooth ball. Repeat to make about 16 in total (depending on the size of the balls - I made 13)
6. Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Roll the rice balls in the breadcrumbs until evenly covered. (I did step 5 and 6 together for each ball as they were made, as I found they held their shape on the plate better if they were covered in breadcrumbs)
7. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 180 degrees or until a crumb dropped in sizzles immediately. (As I do not have a deep-fryer nor a thermometer I filled a medium sized deep saucepan with oil and tested it with a crumb prior to frying). Fry the rice balls, a few at a time for 3-5 minutes, until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt to taste and keep hot while cooking the remainder. Serve immediately.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
I made 13 balls in total and only fried what I was going to eat there and then. You can store the unfried rice balls in the fridge and simply fry them up for a quick and easy snack later.