Endive "Cup" Risotto Balls + Cup Salad

Ingredients for the Risotto:

2 Shallots, thinly sliced.
2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced.
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
1.5 Cups Arborio Rice.
3/4 Cup Dry White Wine.
5-6 Cups Chicken or Veggie Stock, heated.
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
Approx 1 Cup Asiago or Parmesan or Grana Padano Cheese, grated + 4 Tbsp, grated.
Small Handful Dried Cranberries.
Small Handful Toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped.
Small Handful Gorgonzola, crumbled.
1 Belgian Endive, cut in half and sliced.
1/2 Lb. Bacon, cooked, drained & roughly chopped.
1 C White All-Purpose Flour.
4 Eggs, gently beaten.
2 C Panko Crumbs.
Canola or Peanut Oil for frying.

Ingredients for the Salad + Dressing:

1 Belgian Endive, cut in half and sliced.
1 Head Radicchio, leaves separated.
1 D'Anjou Pear, cored & diced.
3-4 Slices of Bacon, cooked, drained & roughly chopped.
1 Handful Toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped.
1 Small Handful Dried Cranberries.
Handful of Gorgonzola.
1 C Creme Fraiche.
Juice of Half a Lemon.
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

What to Do for Your Balls (hehe):

On a low heat, melt butter in large pan and add shallots and garlic, covering with lid. Allow 5-10 mins to become translucent.

Add rice, stirring until grains become slightly clear and golden on the outside, approximately 2 mins.

Pour in the wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate - this should take about a minute or so.

Next ladle in enough stock to just cover the rice mixture and allow for a low simmer, stirring fairly regularly to avoid burning. Continue adding further ladles of broth as it gets absorbed, again only as much as is needed to cover the rice.

This will continue for roughly 30mins, or until rice mixture is creamy and has reached the desired texture. You want it to be soft but still hold it's texture and not be mushy.

At this point, remove from heat and fold the cup of grated cheese into the finished dish along with the dried cranberries, walnuts, endive, gorgonzola, and bacon.

Eat some of it tonight if you like but save at least half and refrigerate until cold (i.e. a couple hours or over night). If you don't eat any of the risotto you should end up with approx 18-20 balls. Haha....

Once cold, remove from the fridge and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Gather a palmful of the mixture. Shape into 2" wide balls. Gently push the center of the ball toward the center of your hand, creating a little divot in the middle. Place a small cube of gorgonzola in there and cover with the surrounding rice to reshape the ball. Set on the parchment paper. Continue until you have enough balls (that's what she said!) or run out of risotto. Cover and place back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

In 3 separate bowls, place the flour, the whisked eggs, and the panko crumbs + a little salt, mix.

As you dredge, you'll want to heat your oil. So in a large wok filled to no more than 1/2 - 2/3rds full of oil, heat over medium heat. The oil will be ready when a piece of white bread is dropped into the oil and browns in 30 seconds. If it browns too quickly, turn down your heat. If not quickly enough, wait longer. BE VERY CAREFUL when deep frying! DO NOT BURN YOURSELF or START THE HOUSE ON FIRE! A good site that tells you how to deep fry safely can be found here.

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees F.

As the oil heats, remove your balls from the fridge (hehe) and dredge each one in the flour, then the eggs, then the panko/salt mixture. Place back on the parchment. Once oil is hot, gently and carefully, using a slotted spoon, place your balls (about 5-6 at a time) in the oil. After a minute or so, gently turn them so as to ensure even browning. When golden and crisp, remove from the oil onto some paper towels to drain and place in a pan and put in the oven to keep warm.

Once finished, turn off the oil, remove it from the element and serve your delicious balls (tehe) with a little grated cheese on top and a side of the following:

It's time to make your salad! Toss all the ingredients into a bowl save for the creme fraiche, gorgonzola and lemon juice.

In a small sauce pan, gently melt the cheese and soften the gorgonzola over medium-low heat. Once combined, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Throw it all in the bowl with the fruit/veg/nut mixture, stir well, and spoon into the radicchio leaves.

Serve on the side of your balls (last time...hahaha) and...


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