Parmigiano and Leek Arancini

The sweet leeks and nutty Parmigiano make a beautifully balanced arancini. If you want to take the extra step, stuff each arancino with a piece of fontina or mozzarella. If you have extra risotto: fry in a non-stick pan until golden, top with a sunny-side-up egg and a little grated Parmigiano for the perfect Boxing Day breakfast.

6 c chicken or vegetable broth
2 c arborio or carnaroli rice
6 leeks
2 cloves garlic, whole
300 g Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
1 piece Parmigiano rind (cut off the end of your Parmigiano) (optional)
4 T freshly squeezed lemon
5T + 2T unsalted butter
2 c dry white wine
2 T extra virgin olive oil
5 leaves fresh sage
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3 c bread crumbs
3 eggs
1 c flour

Bring the broth to a gentle boil.

Prepare the leeks. Cut off and discard the top third and bottom root of the leek. Remove the first layer of the leek to avoid any woodiness in your risotto. Cut the leek into roughly ½-inch slices. Place in a bowl and rinse to remove and dirt. Strain and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 5 T of butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Add the leeks, season with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the leeks are soft, add the whole garlic cloves and sage, continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the rice, stir with a wooden spoon, cook for about 1 minute stirring frequently. Add the white wine, turn the heat down slightly, cook until the wine has evaporated. Add a large ladle of boiling broth (or enough liquid to just cover the rice) and the Parmigiano rind. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally. Once the broth evaporates, add another ladle or 2 of broth.

Once the risotto has completed cooking, about 20-25 minutes total (the rice should have a slight give but no crunch) remove from the heat. Add the remaining butter and Parmigiano to the risotto; gently stir to incorporate. Add the lemon. Season to taste with more cheese, salt and lemon. The risotto should have the consistency of loose, creamy porridge not mashed potatoes. If the risotto is too thick, add a little more broth. Pour the risotto onto a baking sheet, allow to cool for a few minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to fully cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Remove and discard the garlic cloves and sage. Roll the risotto into golf ball-sized balls.

Place the breadcrumbs, eggs and flour in separate bowls. Beat the eggs well and add ¼ c of water. Mix to combine. Roll each risotto ball in the flour, shake off any excess, then dip in the egg and finally roll into the bread crumbs.

Heat 1.5 L of sunflower oil or other frying oil in a large pot to 360ºF (ensure the pot is only half full of oil to avoid boiling over). Fry the arancini in batches of 8 to avoid overcrowding. Fry until the arancini are golden (about 3 minutes). Gently remove the arancini with a steel slotted spoon, place them on a paper towel and season with a little salt. Serve with a little grated Parmigiano on top.

Serves 6-8.