Risotto, Arancini, & Fall Salad with Apples

Kids today want to eat their risotto with curry and shrimp and sour cream, not risotto alla Milanese, like they should, in my opinion

Mario Batali

Since Michael is doing a little grilling these days, still no prep work though, I have a little time on my hands at dinner time, well at least one hand to add to and stir the risotto from time to time, wine glass at the ready for the other hand, better than sweating over a grill any day.  I have several go to risotto recipes for fall, but I wanted to stay pretty simple adding in a little lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, dabs of mascarpone, and grated Parmigiano, tossing in a little fresh parsley just before serving.

There never is a lot of risotto left in part because I don’t ever use more than a cup of rice, but today I managed to make 3 arancini with what was left and along with salad, a perfect lunch for two.  Mix the leftover risotto (2 cups) with 1 egg, roll risotto into a ball, pushing a small cube of mozzarella into the center and firmly re-roll the rice around it, roll rice in fresh seasoned breadcrumbs and fry in about 3 inches of hot oil, drain on  paper towels, season with salt and pepper, serve sprinkled with a little Parmesan.

Note:  I had less than 2 cups of rice and only used 1/2 of an egg, LOL.

No sooner than I get this posted and find out DH has to skip lunch today, but after hearing what I made, I promised him a fresh batch for dinner…so on to risotto Milanese for tonight’s arancini.

A new favorite, well at least for Michael,  is the salad that I made last night adapted from the current issue of Fine Cooking.  Originally calling for escarole (‘scarole) to some of us, I used what I had in the way of assorted lettuces Bibb or Boston,(Tanimura & Antle-Artisans a new favorite and literally no waste ever), changed from blue cheese to Gorgonzola, and adapted the just a touch too tart dressing a bit by adding apple sauce which I never have on hand, but left from the kids visit, it worked perfectly, but taste as you go.  I didn’t waste time skinning hazelnuts as they just come already chopped, but I did toasted them a bit which I prefer.   Note, the slices of apple sat, covered in some of the dressing and did not turn brown so they can be prepared ahead of time.  I did not saturate the lettuce in the dressing, but drizzled over each individual salad, but if you toss all the greens, use the dressing sparingly.  You can always serve the rest at the table if need be.

Apple and Escarole Salad with Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts ~ Adapted from Fine Cooking

by Greg Patent
Serves 6

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar ( Champagne or white wine vinegar)
1 Tbs. minced shallot
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

  • Optional 2-3 Tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce, taste after each addition before adding more
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. whole shelled hazelnuts (about 1/2 cup), toasted and skinned
1 lb. (about 2 large) sweet apples best enjoyed raw (such as Fujis or Galas), quartered, cored, and sliced into thin wedges.  I sliced a Honey-crisp apple.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil in a slow and steady stream until incorporated.

Put the nuts in a zip-top bag, force out the air, seal the bag, and break the nuts with a meat pounder or a heavy skillet into uneven pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the apples with 1 Tbs. of the dressing. Add the escarole, cheese, onion, parsley, and hazelnuts. Toss with the remaining dressing and serve.