(a waffle and an arancini walk into a bar.....)

Leftover Risotto stuffed with mozzarella, and waffled!

Leftover Risotto stuffed with mozzarella, and waffled!


Now that the weather has started to cool, there's nothing like a warm and creamy risotto to signify the change of seasons.  Last night I made a Risotto Milanese (chicken stock, onion, wine, risotto, saffron and parmesan are the only ingredients) with a roast chicken, and of course had leftovers. 

What to do? I gave in to that cheesy craving I've been having all week and stuffed some risotto with mozzarella, rolled that arancini ball in some seasoned breadcrumbs, and instead of frying them, waffled them instead.  The result? Crispy outsides, gooey insides with a bit of that cheese leaking to the edges and forming a little frico (crispy brown fried cheese tidbits) just for good measure.

-  waffle iron
-  ice cream scoop or large tablespoon
-  olive oil spray

-  leftover risotto
-  soft cheese (think fontina, taleggio, mozzarella, goat)
-  1 cup panko breadcrumbs
-  1-2 TB Italian dry seasoning*
-  marinara or pesto sauce (I used prepared marinara)
-  parmesan or pecorino for sprinkling
-  fresh basil or Italian parsley to finish

1.  Preheat waffle iron on medium heat.
2.  Cut up cheese into approximately 1/2" cubes. If cheese is really soft, just squish it together in little balls.
3.  Scoop up about 1/4 cup of risotto, place in the palm of your hand, and make a depression in the middle.  Fill that with cheese, and wrap the rice around the cheese in the center.
4.  Mix 1-2 TB Italian seasoning in a cup of panko and put in a small bowl.  Coat each arancini ball in the seasoned breadcrumbs and set aside.
5.  When waffle iron is ready, spray it liberally with olive oil spray, and spray the arancini as well.  Put 1 ball onto each section of the waffler and close, pressing gently.  Cook for 5-8 minutes until golden brown, heated through, and cheese is starting to ooze out.
6.  Left the Waffle-Cinis gently out of the machine onto a serving platter.  Top with Marinara or Pesto, sprinkle with a little cheese and finish with basil or Italian parsley.  (you can hold the "naked" waffle-cinis in a warm oven until ready to serve, then add toppings and enjoy!

-  As the seasons progress imagine how tasty this dish is with a mushroom risotto as a base (perhaps with a little blue cheese inside), a pumpkin risotto (with fontina or white cheddar), or a springtime vegetable risotto filled with herbed goat cheese.  The combinations are endless, and I hope you take a leap and enjoy this way to repurpose leftovers.

-  If you have leftover risotto, often it's hard to re-heat without separating into a cheesy/oily mess.  To bring risotto back to life on the stove, heat up some stock (or milk or cream) and stir it in slowly with the rice over low heat.  Alternately, you can put the risotto into a heat proof heavy duty zip- loc bag, close it, and place that in simmering water for 10-15 minutes for gentle re-heating.

*I use a home made mix of fennel seed, granulated garlic, dried tomato flakes, rosemary, red pepper flakes, oregano and salt