Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ingredients for 12 servings
1/4 cup (60 mL) dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup (250 mL) hot water
3 tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil PLUS 4 cups (1 L) for deep-frying
3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter
1 Spanish onion, cut into 1/4-inch (.5-cm) dice
2 oz (60 g) prosciutto di Parma, cut into 1/4-inch (.5-cm) dice
1 cup (250 mL) arborio rice
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped Italian parsley
2/3 cup (160 mL) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
5 oz (140 g) mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch (.5-cm) dice
13/4 cups (425 mL) dried bread crumbs
Salt AND freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, soak the mushrooms in the hot water for 30 minutes.
Lift out the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and chop finely. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine sieve into another small bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and prosciutto and cook until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups (500 mL) hot water and the mushroom water, bring to a boil and cook uncovered, until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Turn the rice out into a bowl, and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Stir the eggs, parsley and Parmigiano into the rice.
For the filling, mix the chopped porcini and mozzarella cubes together in a bowl.
Using a tablespoon, make egg-shaped balls of the rice mixture (you should have 12 to 14).
Use your thumb to make an indentation in the centre of each, insert 1 tsp (5 mL) of the filling, and use your palms to round the ball so that the filling is completely enclosed.
In a large deep pot, heat the 4 cups (1 L) olive oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 370 F (185 C).
Roll each ball in the bread crumbs so that it is completely coated, and set on a plate.
Working in batches, fry the balls in the hot oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain, and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature (do not refrigerate before serving).

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