So it's that time of year again!! Time to plan the menu for our Annual Holiday Party. Last years Meatball Bar was a huge hit!! I did four different types of meatballs as the main star of the show. I always like to stick to finger foods or bite sized foods at a party like this. I feel like people just want to pick up a bite at a time, more than they would opt for a plate of pasta. So all of the meatballs where bite sized. There was also an array of other appetizers all around the house. This year, I am really feeling Rice Balls!! I think when people get a Rice Ball, they are so used to, or expecting the traditional Rice Ball. But, in Nana's Kitchen, there are sooooo many different types of Rice Balls!! I have been coming up with all kinds of different flavors that are awesome. So this years Holiday Party theme will be a Rice Ball Bar!! Let's get rolling!!!
SHRIMP & RICE BALLS
4 Shallots 4 Cloves of Garlic Chopped Olive Oil 2 Tblsp Paprika 1 LB Cleaned and Deveined Shrimp 1 1/2 Cup Aborio Rice 1 Cup of White Wine 4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth Zest of 1/2 Lemon 1 1/2 Cup of Pecorino Romano 1 Egg Handful of Fresh Chopped Parsley Salt & Pepper
FOR THE FRYING
Flour Eggs Panko Oil
First, let's prepare your shrimp. Put the cleaned and deveined shrimp in a bowl and season with salt & pepper. Add paprika and toss all together to coat the shrimp.
Heat about 2 Tblsp of oil in a saute pan and add the shrimp. Cook about 3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Then remove from heat and cut into tiny pieces. Set aside for now.
Now let's make the risotto!! Begin my slicing the shallots very thin. Heat 3 Tblsp of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the shallots and saute until they are soft, tender and beginning to brown.
Add the chopped garlic. Saute until soft and add the Risotto.
Let it begin cooking in the oil to toast and bring out the nutty flavors just for a couple of minutes. Next, add the white wine and begin to cook and stir. Then begin adding the chicken broth slowly in small additions.. Cooking the rice at a very, very soft simmer constantly stirring while continuing to add the broth. Risotto is a slow process, so take your time and please, please, please keep tasting and testing as you go. You may not need the complete 4 cups of broth, it may be 3 or 3 1/2. Just keep cook and adding until it is tender yet al dente!!
When you are happy with the tenderness of the rice, you can add the grated cheese which will make it nice and creamy. Then add the parsley and lemon zest.
Now just turn off the heat and let it sit and cool!! Then you can add the one egg, another 1/2 cup of grated cheese and the chopped shrimp. Stir all together and lay it out on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate until ready to use or even over night. I find this step just makes it so much easier when you are ready to roll the balls, When it is cold it is so much easier to work with. This is also nice to do the day before you want to serve them so then all you have to do is the frying when you are ready.
All that's left is to fry the balls!!! Get yourself set with three stations. One with flour, one with egg and one with Panko. You know the drill. Grab a small amount. Again, I like to make these small and alittle more that bite sized. About 2 bite sized. Roll in the flour first, then the egg and panko. Fry in the oil turning to brown on all sides!!
Now. take a bite of that!! I know it sounds like a lot of work but it is sooooo worth it!!! This is an awesome alternative to a traditional Rice Ball. One down...now onto creating the next flavor of Rice Ball, If you guys have any ideas for my Rice Ball Bar, please leave me a comment and let me know!!