I first had a version of these a few weeks ago at a restaurant in Savannah, was there with a group of friends for a going away party. While I was really sad that my friend was leaving, the discovery of a new food is always a thrill for me.
Wanting to share them with my family and tackle a challenge I decided to try and make them at home. Typically they are made with leftover risotto. This is great because it doesn't really reheat the same but I hate to waste it. However I didn't happen to have any on hand so I made a batch the night before and let it chill. The cold rice helps when you form them.
I also love that I have found another crowd pleasing, and impressing, appetizer. It's even vegetarian if that is necessary but don't feel like bacon or prosciutto wouldn't be amazing here too. I would be.
3 - 4 cups leftover risotto
15- 20 small cubes of cheese
1/2 c. bread crumbs, panko, or matzo meal
2 Tbsp shredded hard cheese
Oil for frying
Marinara sauce for dipping, optional
In a food processor pulse together the crumbs and the cheese. Salt to taste and place in a shallow dish or bowl. Set aside
Divide the rice in to balls. Each cup of rice should make 5 balls. Stuff a piece of cheese in the center of each and much together to seal. They might be hard to get perfectly round at this point because they are sticky. Drop them in the bread crumb and roll to coat. Now they should be easier to make sure they are round.
Fry in medium hot oil until the outside is golden brown. You don't want them to fry too fast or the cheese in the center won't melt.
Serve as they are or with sauce to dip.