Oh how I love Italian food. Many of my favorite dishes I have been able to recreate without much problem. They things I miss are the ability to go out for dinner to an Italian restaurant and have food made for me (aside from pizza I have yet to find many vegan options) and breaded rice balls that an Italian family use to make for me called Arancini balls.
I decided to try making them myself for today’s post. I had two challenges to figure out: how to get the balls to stick without eggs and making risotto which I have never done. I was able to get my croquettes to bind without eggs just by using potatoes so I figured I would try adding them to the risotto mixture. While making the risotto I feared some t.v. food show host yelling at me for doing it wrong.
Some notes about my experiment. You need at least 24 hours for this dish because you want the risotto to sit overnight. The risotto came out amazing and my husband is already asking when I will make it again. The cheesy mashed potatoes gave it an amazing creamy texture. I made my balls too big (yes, that was hard to type with a straight face.) The butternut squash and pepperoni mixture use for the stuffing was pretty tasty. Most importantly, my Italian hubby loved them!
4 1/2 cups water
2 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup heavy cashew cream
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp miso
1 tbsp Braggs
1 large clove garlic
1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon No Beef Broth
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 cup dry arborio rice
Boil potatoes in 2 1/2 cups water until tender. While potatoes are cooking mix ingredients from cashew cream to garlic in a separate boil. Drain potatoes reserving liquid. Add Better Than Bouillon to potato water and add more water to equal 4 cups and put aside. Once potatoes are drained put back in pot adding cashew mixture and mash with potato masher until nice and smooth. Set aside.
In a large deep dish pan saute the onion in butter over medium heat. Once rice is translucent add rice and saute for ten minutes. Add one cup of reserved broth and cook till dissolved. Continue to do this with the broth until it is all gone and has all been absorbed. It took about 25 minutes. Once all broth is absorbed remove from heat and stir in mashed potato mixture. Let cool, transfer to a seal able container and refrigerate over night.
Butternut Squash & Pepperoni Arancini
2/3 cup bread crumbs (you may need more if you make smaller balls)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup cooked mashed butternut squash/ butternut squash*
10 slices vegan pepperoni diced, sautéed in a little oil
cookie sheet )that will fit in your freezer) lined with wax paper
a pot filled with two inches of oil
Tomato sauce, heated (I used jarred)
Mix 1/3 bread crumbs into risotto. Put a spoonful of risotto in your hand and make a well in the center. Put about some squash and pepperoni in well and cover with more risotto and form into a ball. Mine came out baseball size but they would cook better golf ball size. Place on wax paper. Freeze for a half hour.
Heat oil in pot to 350 degrees. I read somewhere that if you don’t have a thermometer it will fry up a piece of bread in two minutes when it’s the right temp and that’s how I checked mine.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Mix breadcrumbs and garlic powder. When oil is ready roll balls in bread crumbs and gently drop in oil, only cooking a couple at a time, until golden brown. When cooked place on an oven safe dish lined with paper and keep warmed in oven until ready to serve. Serve with heated tomato sauce. Can be a side dish or a main course.
*At many stores they have the pre-cut butternut squash available. This might be your best option. I used a whole squash and only used a 1/4 of it. Regardless, you simply want to boil it and mash it like you would potatoes.