This is a Martha Stewart Living Recipe from this last December. When some friends and I were together last year, eating these yummy
rice balls in Boston, I starting searching for a good recipe to make them. Although this one might be a little more extravagant than others, it’s also very, very good. I didn’t use grapeseed or safflower oil (just canola), and because pomegranates are out of season now, I put in small dollops of black current jam. I think lingonberry jam would also be terrific, as would probably raspberry or any other favorite. I did use fontina cheese, and it was great–melted perfectly and was delicious. But, if you’re wanting something a little more budget-friendly, cubes of mozzerella would also be good, I think (just not fresh mozz). Cubes of ham would also be good, if you wanted.
Also, the recipe doesn’t specify how much salt to add, but it needs quite a bit. Definitely taste the rice mixture before refrigerating it, and add according (1 t. + more according to taste). And note the yield: it makes a lot. I refrigerated the rice mixture for a couple of days and it held up well in an airtight container.
Pomegranate Fontina Rice Balls
Makes about 50
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 1 pound arborio rice (2 1/3 cups)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups water, plus more if needed
- 3 small sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup diced fontina cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 4 cups fine plain breadcrumbs
- 4 large eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Safflower oil, for frying (about 8 cups)
- Heat grapeseed oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add rice, and toast, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add wine. Heat over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the rosemary. Cook, stirring constantly and adding 2 cups water at a time, plus more if needed, waiting for each addition to be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes more. Discard rosemary sprigs.
- Add Parmesan and butter, and season with salt and pepper. (Mixture will loosely hold its shape.) Transfer to a baking sheet, and refrigerate until cooled, about 2 hours or overnight.
- Transfer rice to a bowl, and stir in fontina and pomegranate seeds. Form into 1 3/4-inch balls, and transfer to a clean baking sheet. Place breadcrumbs on a plate. Roll each ball in breadcrumbs to coat, then in egg mixture, then again in breadcrumbs, returning to baking sheet as you work.
- Heat 4 inches safflower oil in a medium pot until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350 degrees. Working in batches, carefully drop rice balls into oil, and fry until golden, about 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plates to drain. Sprinkle with salt.