Beppi’s Crocchette di Riso

I’ve begun making extra-large batches of risotto just so that I can make these croquettes the next day.  The first time my neighbor Beppi made me risotto, I noticed he made a huge batch–then these croquettes showed up at my door the following day.  They are absolutely irresistable!

Using my risotto with luganiga sausage as the base, I know these will be extra flavorful, although you can just as well use plain risotto as the base if you’re not interested in having sausage in your croquettes.

I was fortunate enough to have Beppi come over this afternoon to give me a one-on-one lesson in making these.  Although he certainly never measures anything, today, I was determined to get a handle on the quantities involved in this preparation so I (and you) can recreate it any day of the week with consistent results.

Having said that, bear in mind that the risotto you use as your base might be more or less liquidy, depending on how much broth you added.   Last night’s  risotto was definitely moist but not too soupy.  When risotto cools in the fridge, it always turns into a solid mass, so it’s important to remember how runny it was when you served it–that will dictate how much breadcrumbs you’ll need to give the croquettes the proper consistency.

The whole process is a bit of a production in that way that deep frying anything is.  You’ll make a mess, but (as usual) I promise you–this mess is worth it.

Tonight, we’re having the croquettes with a salad of arugula and the last of the cherry tomatoes from Beppi’s garden.  Fall arugula is extra-peppery and is a wonderful counterpoint to the rich croquettes.

In addition, I’ve made some broccoli di rapa with andouille sausage.

Beppi’s Crocchette di Riso

makes about 12 – 14 croquettes

4 c cooled risotto

2 c seasoned breadcrumbs (Beppi uses Progresso Italian-Style) + additional crumbs for dredging

5 large eggs

1 1/2 c grated parmigiano

1 c chopped fresh chives

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

flour for dredging

1 c olive oil for frying

In a mixing bowl, with hands, combine risotto, cheese, 2 eggs, chives, nutmeg and 2 cups breadcrumbs (add an extra quarter to half-cup if your risotto was very liquidy).  The croquettes should be firmer than meatballs.

Form into logs approximately 4″ long and 1 1/2″ thick.  Dredge in flour, 3 beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper, and crumbs.

Preheat oil in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold only about 6 at at a time (10″).  Gently slip croquettes into hot oil, then lower the flame.  Test the oil with the tip of one before slipping it in–it should begin to sizzle immediately–if not, continue heating oil before adding croquettes.

Once croquettes are in, lower heat to medium and brown well on all sides until golden brown–about 2 to 3 minutes per side.  It’s not imperative to cook these too long since all the primary ingredients are pre-cooked.  They should remain moist inside.

Drain on a wire rack and serve warm.  May be frozen, then thawed and reheated, uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

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