Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Risotto with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach (and risotto balls with the leftovers!)

In my opinion, nothing goes better with grilled filet mignon than risotto. And I don't care how hot it is outside - as long as my air is on, I'll make risotto.

This is probably my tenth risotto in this blog as I love trying new ingredients and flavors. On Sunday night I was inspired by the one, lonely red pepper sitting in my fridge along with half of a bag of baby spinach.


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Optional: a few dashes of red pepper flakes
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped (to roast, put over an open flame until all of the skin is charred. Put in a bowl covered with plastic to sweat the skin off. After 10 minutes, peel the skin to reveal your beautiful roasted red pepper)
  • 1 c fresh baby spinach
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese


  • Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan
  • Add shallots and garlic (and red pepper flakes); stir until tender, about 2 minutes.
  • Add arborio rice and stir until coated
  • Add the white wine and stir until absorbed
  • Add the chicken broth, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Add more broth only when all of the broth in the pan has been absorbed by the rice. This entire process takes anywhere from 17 to 25 minutes.
  • Near the end, stir in the spinach and red peppers.
  • When you add your final ladle of broth, add the cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

Sweet but savory at the same time - I loved it. And something about the flavor of roasted red peppers along with the grilled flavor of a filet mignon is just perfect together.

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So what to do with leftover risotto besides reheating it and eating it as is? Risotto balls, formally known as Arancini. I haven't made these in a while only because I will eat all of them!

  • Cold, leftover risotto
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3/4 c bread crumbs
  • 3/4 c oil for frying


  • Heat oil in a pot/pan
  • With wet hands (much easier to work with risotto), take about a tablespoon of risotto and form into balls. Optional: insert a small piece of mozzarella in the middle.
  • Roll the ball in flour, dip in egg, then coat with bread crumbs.
  • Drop into the oil and cook about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • Transfer to paper towels to drain, then serve immediately.

In the past I have made dipping sauces. Marinara is a good sauce, but if you want something different, here is a recipe for a garlic aioli, and here is one for a grilled tomato and garlic aioli.

Every time I have made these I have rolled them into ball shapes, but last night I made two flatter cakes as well. These would be great plated with a serving of meat and covered in a bit of sauce.

Risotto balls and risotto cakes are things seen very often on restaurant menus, but can easily be created at home. Give it a try!!

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  1. We made risotto balls during a cooking class in Rome earlier this year, and I have been wanting to try them at home!

    They look great, thanks!

  2. We would like to feature your risotto balls recipe on our blog. Please email sophiekiblogger@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :)

  3. That looks FANTASTIC! I love what you did with the leftovers, too! :)

  4. What a great way to use up leftover risotto. I guess anything can be rolled up, coated in breadcrumbs and fried for something yummy!!

  5. These risotto balls look very interesting, I must say! Last night I also made a rice recipe from your blog, Fried Rice with Green Onions and Water Chestnuts. It was delicious, thank you!

  6. I adore risotto (but, I use my pressure cooker to make it). I'll have to make a note of your recipe as the flavor combo sounds like sometihng I'd love!

  7. I'm definitely going to have to make one of your risotto recipes in the near future!

  8. patsyk - I tried my pressure cooker for risotto once and it was a nightmare of burnt, overcooked risotto. How do you do it?

  9. I can't handle risotto in summer, but as soon as it gets warm I will be back here to try all your variations. I've seen risotto balls before, but haven't tried them yet. They look so tasty!

  10. Yum! I am seriously craving some arancini! I used to live in NYC and the bar across from my office gave you 2 arancini with every happy hour drink you ordered. I am drooling just thinking about it.