Cheesy barley risotto, rolled into a ball, stuffed with mozza, breaded, and then pan-fried. This recipe is inspired by Arancini di Riso ( literally translated from the Italian as "little oranges of rice"), and it makes a great appetizer or casual munch at cocktail time.
You could use any kind of leftover risotto to make the recipe, but I felt like testing it with barley. I went with pot barley because of its heartiness (unlike pearl barley, it has not been stripped of nutrients). The end result met my expectations, resembling al dente arborio rice. You'll need to soak the barley overnight. But don't let that put you off. Pouring barley in a bowl and covering it with water isn't that big a job.
Serve the croquettes with a spicy mayo (mayo + hot sauce!). Enjoy!
The risotto recipe is a simplified one--you add stock to the barley in two doses instead of the traditional way, which is to add it little by little. In the end, there's not much of a difference. For a traditional risotto recipe see here.
• 1 cup pot barley (yields about 2 cups once soaked) • 2 medium onions, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 4-5 cups chicken or veg stock (or water) • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 2 tablespoons butter • a few pinches of sea salt
Soak the barley overnight and drain the next day. In a large skillet cook the onions in the olive oil and butter on medium-high heat until they are translucent, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the barley, you want the barley to soak up the onion-garlic flavors. Add 2 cups of stock (or water) and keep on a low boil, stirring often until the liquid is absorbed. Add the rest of the stock and repeat the cooking and stirring. Add more liquid if needed, the risotto should start to look starchy. This should take about 30-40 minutes Remove from heat, add the parmesan and season to taste.
Eat right away or continue this recipe to make croquettes.
Makes 10 jumbo or 16 small
• 2 1/2 cups barley risotto, cooled • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs • 1/2 cup parmesan • 1 egg • 1 tablespoon flour • about 75g mozzarella, cut into 10 cubes (or 16 for smaller croquettes)
Mix the risotto with the breadcrumbs, parmesan, egg, and flour. Taste and season with salt and ground black pepper. Form 10 large (or 16 small) balls, tuck and enclose a piece of mozzarella into the middle of each. Roll again with your hands to get a round shape.
• 2 eggs, • 1/2 cup flour • 1 cup breadcrumbs • 1/2 cup frying oil (I use sunflower)
Gently roll each risotto ball in the flour, then dip in the eggs, and roll in the breadcrumbs. In a large skillet, heat the oil until it's hot and sizzling. Put half of the croquettes in the pan and cook on all sides until browned and crispy. Keep an eye on them, it should take about 4-7 minutes depending on the size. Transfer them to a wire rack and repeat with the rest.