Earlier this week, over at the Cafe Zupas blog, I was talking about arborio rice. I actually started thinking about it because of this recipe. I’ve made risotto several times now, but up until this recipe, I had never made a risotto that used tomato sauce as part of the liquid. What a great idea!! Adding in the meatballs, this really did taste like a version of spaghetti and meatballs. It’s been one of my favorite risotto recipes to date!
Mini Meatball Risotto
from The Rachael Ray Show
total time: 30 minutes
1 28-ounce can tomato sauce or puree
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
3/4 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place the tomato sauce and stock in medium saucepot and heat over low heat. Keep warm.
Place a medium-sized pot with rounded sides over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan EVOO. Add onions and 2 cloves of garlic and sauté a couple of minutes to soften. Add the rice and turn to coat. Toast for about 1 minute then add the tomato paste and stir a minute more, stir in wine and cook until the liquid evaporates. Begin adding a couple of ladles of the tomato-stock at a time. Each time you add the liquid, stir the risotto vigorously to develop the starches. Rice will cook 18 minutes total. (If the rice is al dente and creamy, yet you still have a ladle or 2 of liquid left, do not feel forced to use it.) In the last minute or so of cooking time, stir in the butter until it melts then add 1/2 cup cheese, a couple of handfuls. Turn off heat and stir in basil.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, moisten the breadcrumbs with milk. Add egg, meat, parsley, 1/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix to combine. Score meat into 4 sections and form 8 small balls from each section, the size of marbles. Place the balls on a baking sheet and coat them with a liberal drizzle of EVOO. Bake 5 minutes until cooked through and golden.
Serve risotto in shallow bowls topped with 8 mini meatballs per serving.