Provincetown & Risotto Poppers

Provincetown is one of my favorite stroll-around, artsy, shopping and eating towns.

You need to drive all the way to the very tip of Cape Cod to get there but it’s worth the drive (and once you get on Rt 6 East, your GPS lady will be quiet all the way to downtown PTown).  We spent a leisurely day of wandering and shopping (wonderful art and jewelry stores).  I’m not sure what might be going into this shop, but I would love to have a shop just like this:

We finally ended up on the deck at Pepe’s at around 4:00.  Not really hungry for a big dinner but needing to replenish the fluids & salt that I lost due to the heat, we finished the afternoon sipping salted margarita’s and appetizers.  When it’s hot you have to be very careful to not let your electrolytes get out of whack.

Pepe’s risotto balls were stuffed with Fontina cheese and drizzled with Italian truffle oil.

Absolutely wonderful but I decided to try my version using a triple cream (there I go again with the triple cream) Brie.  You can also see my crab cake appetizer which I haven’t tried making myself since finding some at Wegman’s that I’d have a hard time trying to beat.  As you can see I hardly touched the liquid part of my margarita because I needed that salt.  I’m pretty sure that was margarita #1, maybe not but let’s say it was.

In any case, I found a great recipe from Giada for the balls which I combined with my basic risotto recipe (see below for basic risotto which I also use for the lobster risotto) to came up with an appetizer that could easily be a meal – add salad to balance things out.  Start with a batch of basic risotto.  This may all seem like a lot of work, but my friend & neighbor Judy (who leaves dead dog/logs on my lawn) said that she almost made some risotto poppers the other day with leftover risotto.  So the poppers could be a great way to use up leftover risotto if you don’t feel like doing it all at once:

BASIC RISOTTO

2     Cups chicken broth
3     TBL butter
½    Cup finely chopped onion
2-3  Garlic cloves, minced
¾    Cup Arborio rice
½    Cup vermouth or white wine
½    Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Tarragon-sprinkled over the top,  about 1-2 teaspoons

– In medium saucepan, bring broth to a simmer.
– In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat (just a tick over medium is best).  Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in garlic for just a minute, this cooks quickly so do not let it burn.  Add 1 more TBL of butter, melt, then stir in the rice to coat it.  Add the vermouth/wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Add a ladle & 1/2 of simmering broth and stir. After about 2-5 minutes the broth should be almost completely absorbed.  Continue cooking rice by adding the broth a ladle at a time, stirring, and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20-30 minutes total.  If you think the rice isn’t quite cooked, then add in more vermouth or cooking wine… that never seems to hurt.

Risotto Poppers

  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups Risotto
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces triple creme Brie, cut into 1/2-inch cubes*
  • Salt

Directions

Pour about 3″ of oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.  You want the oil to be hot enough so the balls don’t soak up the oil & get soggy.

Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Take about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 1/2″ balls.  Insert 1 cube of Brie into the center of each ball then roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turn as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

*  Giada uses mozzarella which I will try next time.  PePe’s used Fontina so I think playing with your favorite cheese or making up a variety of batches would be great.