Bravo Bistro Arancine (Rice Balls)
Source: azfamily.com - Chef Tony Hamati, Bravo Bistro, Phoenix, Arizona
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
1 pinch saffron
2 cups arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
6 ounces lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup Romano cheese, freshly grated
2 eggs, separated, plus 2 additional egg yolks
1/4 cup flour for dusting
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a hot, 4- to 6-quart saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Add half the diced red onion and saffron; stirring often for about 7 minutes, cook until onion has softened. Stir in arborio rice; mix well. Stir in chicken stock; leaving the pan uncovered, bring the mixture to a boil. Cook mixture until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes.
Brown ground beef with the remaining onion. Add tomato sauce and basil; cook until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.
When rice is cooked, spread rice about 1/2-inch thick onto a large baking sheet to cool. Place cooled rice to a mixing bowl. Add cheese and 4 egg yolks; stir to mix thoroughly. Place egg whites in a separate bowl next to a shallow bowl or plate for the flour and a bowl for the bread crumbs.
To form the rice balls, place about 3 tablespoons of the rice mixture in the palm of one hand. Using the back of a tablespoon, make an indentation in the rice ball. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center of the rice; use additional rice to cover the filling. Pressing the mixture together as you go, gently form the mixture into a ball. Repeat process with remaining rice mixture. Dust each rice ball with flour, then dip into egg whites and coat with bread crumbs.
Heat remaining olive oil until almost smoking. Stirring occasionally, fry rice balls in batches until golden brown all over. Remove to a plate paper towel-lined plate to drain before serving.