Recipe: Butternut Squash Stuffed Arancini (Rice Balls)
Rich, vanilla scented risotto is formed into lightly fried rice balls with a sweet bite of roasted butternut squash tucked in the middle. These delightful bites are surprisingly easy.
For the butternut squash risotto:
- 1½ lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup honey powder
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 5 cups herb or vegetable broth*
- 2 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup coconut milk powder
For the fried rice balls:
- 1 (8-ounce) box Panko bread crumbs
- Canola oil for frying
- 1 Tbsp. grey sea salt, ground
- 1 tsp. organic Tellicherry peppercorns, freshly ground
- 1 Tbsp. rubbed sage
If you'd rather skip the fried part of this recipe, simply toss the roasted butternut squash into the finished risotto for a lovely side dish or hearty vegetarian main. *Bouillon cubes are an easy way to make a quick broth; 1 cube equals 2 cups of broth.
To make the butternut squash risotto: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss butternut squash with 3 Tbsp. olive oil and the lemon juice and honey powder. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 20 min. or until fork tender; let cool on baking sheet. In a wide saute pan over medium heat, cook shallots and garlic in remaining olive oil; before they start to brown, add wine and simmer to reduce by about a third. Add rice and stir to coat. Add 1 cup broth, bring to a simmer and stir constantly. Once broth is absorbed, add ½ cup more and stir until absorbed. Repeat until all broth has been used and rice is al dente, 15 to 20 min. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla paste and coconut milk powder; let cool.
To make the fried rice balls: Scoop up a ball of rice mixture, nestle a cube of squash in the middle and close to form a stuffed ball. Gently roll rice ball in bread crumbs to cover. Add enough oil to a high-sided skillet to submerge rice balls; heat to 350 degrees. Fry rice balls in small batches until golden brown, maintaining 350-degree temperature. Transfer a to a paper towel-lined plate. Combine salt, pepper and sage in a small bowl; lightly sprinkle over the rice balls.
Absolutely amazing served warm with the Smoked Serrano Cranberry Chutney for dipping.