Every party needs a vegetarian option. This recipe is easily adapted to suit the non-meat eaters, and with the exclusion of cheese your Vegan guests should also have an option at your cocktail party or Christmas shindig.
These risotto bites are also a great way to use up left over risotto. I’m pretty bad at judging how much rice and stock will feed the number of people gathered at my table and I’m invariably left with some yummy rice to use in an inventive way, this is how this recipe came about.
Arborio rice, or it’s close cousin carnaroli is the best rice to use for this dish. These rices become creamy and develop lots of starch as they cook. The starch helps the bites stick together.
The ricey chunks are perfect served with the onion jam. I like to make a really big batch of this before Christmas – it’s fantastic on sandwiches with left over turkey and ham, as a savoury tart filling, mixed with cream cheese or sour cream for a quick dip or as a side dish on your Christmas table.
TIP – keep your onions in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Cold onions are less volatile and will produce fewer tears as you chop them – a huge bonus for this dish where there are lots of onions involved.
Pecorino risotto bites with balsamic onion jam
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 large brown onions
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups risotto rice of your choice
750ml to 1 litre vegetable stock
3/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
1 egg optional.
baking tray or mini muffin tins
Peel and slice onions into fine slices – the finer the slices the nicer the final result. If you like chunky onions you can be less precious about this stage.
Heat the olive oil over low to medium heat.
Add the onions and coat well with the olive oil.
Mince or crush the garlic and add to the pan stirring well to combine.
Add the sugar and vinegar and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Stir the onions every 5 minutes or so for the next hour. This condiment cooks very gently slowly breaking the onions down to form beautiful sticky brown onion ribbons.
When the onions are completely transparent and soft add a little salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat. Set aside to cool and clean your saucepan to use for the risotto.
Place olive oil in saucepan over low heat.
Peel and dice the onion and garlic and gently fry in the oil until transparent.
Add the rice and stir in the oil and onion mix until well coated and becoming transparent.
Add about one third of the stock and stir well until the stock comes to the boil. Add the remaining stock and simmer the risotto until the stock has almost all evaporated from the pan and the rice is sticky.
Be sure to stir the risotto frequently so it doesn’t stick to the pan. stir in the grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool until you can comfortably handle the rice to roll into balls.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper, or grease a mini muffin tin with olive oil.
Wet your hands – the rice can be sticky and damp hands make the balls easier to work with.
Gently roll the cooled risotto into bite size balls – about a heaped teaspoonful for each ball, and line the rice balls up on the baking tray, or gently press them into the mini muffin tin.
This mixture should give you about four dozen rice balls of this size.
Place the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes or so until well browned and crispy.
Remove from the oven and arrange on a serving platter with a dollop of onion jam and some herbs of your choice.
For a more substantial snack or a light lunch make the rice balls bigger and serve a few with a fresh green salad.