In The Kitchen
Winter Squash Arancini by Vilda Gonzalez
To celebrate the release of our first Italian wines, we knew we had to share a couple of Italian recipes to pair with them. We asked our friend Vilda Gonzalez, a recipe creator whose style and vibe we absolutely love, to put her chic twist on a dish that's perfect for serving at holiday parties and happy hours: Arancini.
This recipe leans into the coziness of late fall flavors, featuring dense winter squash, a touch of nutmeg, and a nutty alpine style cheese.
A note from Vilda:
"Arancini is the perfect excuse to make more risotto than you can reasonably eat in a sitting. This risotto recipe will yield generous portions for two, and should leave you with enough to make 8 arancini. If all you’re after is the crunchy, melt in your mouth decadence of the arancini - by all means, allocate all of the risotto towards it."
Keep the chicken broth warm in a small saucepan set over low heat.
In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter until foaming. Add the shallots and a small pinch of salt, and cook until the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat. Season with a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add 2 generous ladlefuls of the stock and allow it to come up to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally, and cook until the rice has soaked up all but the smallest puddle of liquid. Add another couple of ladlefuls of broth, and repeat the same process (stir, simmer, stir, ladle - always making sure the rice has soaked up all but the dregs of each addition of liquid before adding more) until you’re almost out of broth and the rice is just al dente. This process usually takes 20-25 minutes, but depends on your rice and the temperature of the stock.
When the rice is just al dente, fold in the squash, parmesan, orange zest and nutmeg. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Take off the heat and chill in the refrigerator. You can expedite this process by spreading the risotto out on a sheet tray.
When the risotto is thoroughly chilled, you can begin forming your arancini. Take a small portion of the chilled risotto (about 3 tablespoons per) and flatten it in your palm. Place a piece of the cheese in the center and encase it in the risotto, forming a little ball. Repeat with the remaining risotto.
Roll each little arancini ball in the beaten egg, then thoroughly coat in breadcrumbs.
Set a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When hot and shimmering but not smoking, add the arancini - working in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Cook on all sides until golden and crispy.
Enjoy while hot, ideally with your favorite Calabrian chili paste and a cold glass of Lambrusco!
For the risotto
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups delicious chicken broth
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup roasted and mashed winter squash
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- Zest of one orange
- A small pinch nutmeg
For the arancini
- 2 cups cold risotto
- ¼ cup alpine cheese (such as comte or gruyere), cut into ¼ inch cubes
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ⅔ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup olive oil for frying, plus more if needed
- Calabrian chili paste to serve, optional
"Arancini is the perfect excuse to make more risotto than you can reasonably eat in a sitting."
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