This past Easter I was planning the menu, and, of course, on occasions like this I like to try new recipes, but at the same time, I try to take into consideration the fact that a lot of people don't have the same tastes as I do, and may not appreciate something I want to try my hand making. That said, I made a short list of appetizers I could make. I knew we would all be coming back from church and would have an hour to an hour and a half with nothing to eat without them. I don't know about you, but our families tend to be pretty hungry after church, so I felt we needed an appetizer. So, I made a short list, and went over it with my husband. I decided something with mostly advance preparation would be best, so I wouldn't spend a lot of time on that.
We settled on two items:
Golden Ravioli with Arrabbiata Sauce
Arancini di Riso
Now, don't look at the name and think "I won't like that". The first recipe is, essentially, frozen raviolis that are dredged in cornmeal (totally not complicated) and fried. They are served with a spicy marinara. The second recipe is a little more complicated, but amazingly delicious. Mozzarella and risotto balls that are also dredged in cornmeal and fried. I set out a mild marinara, also, because not everybody likes hot stuff. I used my homemade marinara, that I make in large batches and keep in the freezer for such a time as this, and added some Tabasco, cayenne, chipotle powder, and a bit of chili flakes for the spicy. Warmed them both in the microwave just before serving.
One reason I chose these recipes is because my husband's grandfather can't have gluten. The risotto balls are dredged with a tiny bit of flour mixed into the cornmeal, but I omitted it for him. I have to say these appetizers were a huge hit. For about two weeks straight my husband kept asking me to make it again and again, because he knew I had more of the raviolis in the freezer. The risotto balls can be completely made the day ahead, and kept covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. You dredge them just before frying and you have a quick, hot appetizer.
Both of these recipes, with a few minor alterations, can be found in Martha Stewart's Hor d'oeuvres Handbook, including a recipe for the arrabbiata sauce.
I am not going to include a recipe for the fried ravioli, just a synopsis. I used grilled chicken and mozzarella raviolis. Thaw (if frozen) in your fridge overnight. Dredge 24 raviolis in about 1/2 cup cornmeal. Heat oil in a deep pot, at about medium-high heat. Fry turning once for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with coarsly ground salt.
The risotto balls entail a little more work. You need to start this the day before, or up to two days. Make the risotto, allow it to cool completely, form into balls, and refrigerate until you are ready to fry them.
Arancini di Riso
4 cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (or additional chicken stock)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1/4 cup)
1 ounce mozzarella cheese, cut into 36 1/4-inch cubes (1 oz is the size of a string cheese)
1/2 cup flour (omit for gluten-free recipe)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
oil for frying
Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Keep covered and warm on low heat.
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My Blog List
My Favorite Reads
- Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook
- Deceptively Delicious
- Giada's Kitchen New Italian Favorites
- Martha Stewart's Cooking School
- Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook
- The Art & Soul of Baking
- The Bon Appetit Cookbook
- The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics
- Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home