Lobstah Arancini & Cheese Tortellini with Basil-Pesto Sauce

IMG_20170910_210748895

Said to originate in the 10th-Century Sicily, Arancini are a traditional food during the Feast of Santa Lucia when bread and pasta are not eaten.  Today they have become increasingly popular as finger food and eaten all year. We found recent incentive to try our hands and find a way to present our favorite little crustacean in a manner that is ooie-gooey, savory, tasty.  The Fontina Cheese and Lobstah do well together and when paired inside the Arancini. This dish can provide the best of surprises to the consummate foodie.

Godetevi e assaporare!

Recipe Hints –

The steps involved do in part take some time, the risotto can take upwards of about an hour to prepare.  Individual parts can be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge till ready to combine and cook the Arancini.  The following may seem daunting but what does our head Thief always  say…..

….On the weekend, open a bottle of wine, enter your kitchen and prepare to compose a masterful work of food! You cannot go wrong when you try.

Ingredients/Equipment:

Risotto Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried Arborio Rice (each cups yields 3 cups cooked)
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 5 to 2 cups medium chopped onion (sweet or yellow)
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 to 4 stalks scallion (green onion) diced
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh sliced/diced basil
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 to 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 cup of white wine

Lobstah Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 8-10 oz Maine Lobstah tails thawed
  • 5 cups red wine or white balsamic vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup of Old Bay Seasoning (or if you want more heat, Slap Your Mamma Rub)

Arancini Ingredients

  • 6 cups risotto (split into 3 cup portions)
  • 4 cups of Italian herb bread crumbs
  • 4 eggs (beaten in groups of 2)
  • 4 cups shredded parmesan cheese ( split into 2 cup portions)
  • ½ to 1 lb Fontina cheese cubed ( ½ inch thick)
  • Lobstah tail par-cooked and chopped into ½ to 1 inch cubes

Other Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh cheese tortellini (sourced from grocer or in-house recipe pending)
  • Basil-pesto sauce (sourced from grocer or in-house recipe pending)
  • Boston Bib lettuce (individual leafs for plating)

Equipment: Large covered heavy or cast iron Dutch oven, 5 quart stock pot with cover, sheet pan, wire racks, slotted metal spoon, large Dutch oven pot 5 quart, cooking oil

Cooking Directions:

Risotto Directions

  1. Clean and chop 1.5 to 2 cups onion to medium sizeIMG_20170910_183508552
  2. Clean and mince 6 to 8 cloves of garlic
  3. Clean and Julienne slice 2 to 3 tbsp of fresh basil
  4. Clean and dice 3 to 4 stalks scallions
  5. Over medium low heat melt one stick of butter with 3 to 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) a Greek or Spanish extra virgin olive oil, in a large 5 quart covered Dutch oven pot
  6. Add onion, kosher salt and black pepper, stir and combine in the oil, sauté onions till soft and translucent (about 4 minutes)
  7. Midway through sautéing the onions add the minced garlic and 3 tbsp dried oregano, mix and combine
  8. Add Arborio rice, combine with the onions and sauté for about 3 minutes to brown slightly
  9. Stir in 1 cup of chicken broth, bring to simmer while stirring till liquid is absorbed
  10. Repeat for each cup of broth (up to the 6 to 8 cups) until the rice is soft to the taste, gradually adding each cup till absorbed
  11. On the last cup add the scallion and fresh basil, also add 2 tbsp of granulated garlic powder and onion powder if desired for taste
  12. Set aside partially covered to allow the risotto to cool

Lobstah Directions

  1. Over Medium high to high temperature, bring to a boil a combined mixture of 5 cups vinegar, 5 cups water and ½ cup Old Bay Seasoning in a covered 5 quart stock pot.

Aside – here is your chance to add some heat to the dish.  If you would like a spicier rice ball consider instead of Old Bay Seasoning add an equivalent amount of Slap Your Mama Cajun Seasoning.  Let’s make some Spicy Arancini!

  1. Remove the Lobstah tails from their packaging and trim the tails as needed
  2. When the liquid is boiling carefully slide the tails into the water, boil 2 to 6 8-10 ouce tails for 6 to 8 minutes for complete doneness, however,
  3. Since the Lobstah meat will cook further in the Arancini we suggest par-cooking for 4 to 5 minutes
  4. Remove the tails, set aside to cool
  5. Once cooled, split the tails and remove the meat (trim further as needed)
  6. Chop the tails into ½ to 1 inch cubes and set aside for the Arancini

Arancini Directions

  1. In a 5 quart covered heavy or cast iron Dutch oven pot place 3 inches of cooking oil (canola or some other high smoke point oil) and heat the oil over medium high heat to °350 F

Aside – Get yourself and use a sturdy oil thermometer to ensure accurate reading of the temperature.

  1. Chop the Fontina Cheese into ½ to 1 inch cubesIMG_20170910_194053330
  2. In a plastic bowl place 1.5 to 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  3. In a mixing bowl add 3 to 4 cups of the risotto, 2 eggs well beaten, ½ cup of Italian bread crumbs, 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese and thoroughly blend the rice mixture
  4. Prep sheet tray with a layer or two of paper towel, over which set the wire racks for setting the Arancini when removed from the oil
  5. Pre-set one’s oven to °200 F to keep the Arancini warm while such is cooked in sets
  6. With clean hands take 2 to 3 tbsp of risotto mixture and ball such in your hands as if your making a snowball
  7. Make a slight depression in the ball and to such add a couple of cubes of Fontina Cheese and Lobstah

IMG_20170910_194058141Aside – Want to kick this up another notch? Add some chopped prosciutto or pancetta for an extra savory taste

  1. Take a little more risotta mix, place it over the Lobstah and Cheese, roll the ball again to seal
  2. Once sealed up place the risotto ball in the bowl with the bread crumbs, roll it around to coat the outside of the risotto ball completely, set aside till ready to cook
  3. Dependent on size of the balls, this should make approximately a dozen to 20 Arancini balls
  4. In batches (3 to 4) with the slotted spoon place the Arancini balls into the oil, cook approximately 4 to 6 minutes dependent on size and temperature
  5. Remove the Arancini from the oil when time has been reached or the outer bread crumb layer is a golden brown and crunchy, place the Arancini on the wire racks to drain excess oil
  6. When the sheet tray is full place it in a preheated oven to keep the Arancini warm.

Aside – If pre-cooking, wait till the Arancini cool to hand touch temperature, bag 3 to 6 in a gallon size ziplock bag and place such in the refrigerator till you’re ready to use.

Cheese Tortellini Directions

Fresh is best, whether you purchased from your local grocer or you make use of our recipe (pending development)

  1. In a large, 5 quart, covered stock pot or dutch oven pot, boil 4 quarts of salted water
  2. Once boiling, place the tortellini into the water, stir immediately and frequently, reduce heat to a soft boil and cook 6 to 9 minutes or until desired doneness is reached
  3. Drain immediately, drizzle with Spanish EVOO and serve warm

Platting Directions

Totally discretionary, fancy or casual, your choice, we platted…

Using a white serving bowl, set a leaf of Boston Bib lettuce in one corner, beside such add 1 to 2 Arancini balls and on the lettuce leaf place a tablespoon of Basil-Pesto Sauce.  On the opposite end add a cup of Cheese tortellini and top with a tablespoon of Basil-Pesto Sauce.  Sprinkle the plate with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Serve with steamed seasonal veggies or light Italian salad, perhaps some sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and feta drizzled with a Sicilian White Balsamic Vinegar.