(with a tomato dipping sauce)
Before the devastating New England Patriots loss, Jeff and I were heading to the Jaegar's house to watch "the big game". I never like to go anywhere empty handed so I found this recipe on the Epicurious website. I was looking for an appetizer and this seemed pretty good - Fontina Risotto Cakes with Fresh Chives - especially since risotto is a favorite of ours and very easy to make.
This is where the story goes a little...blank. I was at a baby shower and didn't have time to put this together so Jeff was in charge. I came back to finish the tomato dipping sauce. I can't really tell you how easy or hard it was to put together but I can tell you this...they were delicious. I was the official taster and the rice cakes were cheesy (Parmesan and Fontina) but the chives gave them a great (but slight) onion flavor. We decided that as much as they tasted great without a dipping sauce, we figured we'd create one and then see whether it worked.
Off to work I went...
Tomato Dipping Sauce
2 - 8 ounce packages of cherry or grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of olive oil
12-16 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of freshly chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat a medium saute pan on medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and saute until slightly golden. Remove from oil and throw away. Add the tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes Add the basil, chives and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, the sauce is ready.
We put the risotto cakes on top of the sauce and it was perfect. Most times when you are served risotto cakes or Arancini Rice Balls, there is usually a tomato sauce mixture for dipping. As much as we used this for the risotto cakes, it's actually a great sauce for pasta or bruscetta.
If you are looking for a different type of appetizer or even as a light luncheon idea, try this. It will be an event to remember!
3 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Fontina cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 large egg yolk
2 large eggs
Canola oil (for frying)
Additional grated Parmesan cheese
Bring 3 cups broth to simmer in small saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep warm. Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add broth, 1/3 cup at a time, and simmer until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more, and stirring often, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in 6 tablespoons Parmesan and butter. Season generously with salt and pepper. Spread risotto in 13x9x2-inch pan and cool completely.
Mix 1/2 cup panko, Fontina cheese, parsley, chopped chives, and 1 egg yolk into risotto. Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls; flatten to 2-inch rounds. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 250°F. Set another rimmed baking sheet in oven. Beat 2 eggs in shallow bowl to blend. Place 1 cup panko in another shallow bowl. Dip risotto cakes into beaten egg, then into panko to coat. Pour enough canola oil into large skillet to coat bottom; heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sauté risotto cakes until crisp and brown, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet in oven.
Serve risotto cakes sprinkled with cheese and garnished with chives.