Today, I check off an item from my cooking bucket list. And I get to indulge…because today is “Fat Sunday” with the Sunday Supper crew! Today was the perfect excuse to dive into a dish that I normally wouldn’t prepare at home (I am a stickler for eating healthy in my own kitchen; when we go out to dinner I tend to do my “cheating” there!).
I have always enjoyed arancini when I’ve ordered them at restaurants, but I’ve never attempted to make them in my own kitchen. Until now. I have set out to accomplish this task in the past when I’ve created risotto dishes…but somehow my guests have always managed to eat the entire pot. Or I haven’t been able to show restraint and have eaten any leftovers before frying them up into arancini. I’m weak…so weak when it comes to risotto!
But the last time I made pancetta and mushroom risotto, I purposely made a double batch so I would have leftovers. And these little fried beauties were the end result. They went over so well with Justin (and me too)! If you haven’t enjoyed an arancini before, let me tell you about them. They are balls of risotto (usually leftovers) that are rolled in breadcrumbs and fried. The end result is a crispy crunchy exterior, with a creamy, rich interior. You can eat them as-is, or you can dip them in sauce.
A little over a year ago, homemade risotto came into my life. I had always enjoyed it, but had not delved into creating the dish in my own kitchen. Annnnnd now that I’ve started, I have not looked back. It’s been full throttle forward since making that first spinach and artichoke risotto.
Now that I have the basic method down to a science (relatively), my mind wants to come up with the best combinations of flavors to add to the rice. I’ve used Fabio Viviani’s spinach and artichoke risotto as the base (since it works so well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!), and tweaked the ingredients. Of the variations I’ve created, there is definitely one that has stood out lately: a risotto with pancetta and mushrooms. I’ve made it at home…I’ve made it for family at Christmas…I’ve made it for out of town guests. It’s pretty much a crowd pleaser.
Brace yourself: today’s recipe is a bit of a doozy. But in a very good way. The folks at Sunday Supper are hosting a chili cookoff today, and there are oh so many to choose from. Beef and bison chilis, pork chilis, white meat chilis, vegetarian chilis, and even twists on chili!
If you didn’t already figure it out: mine is a twist. A gluttonous but wonderful twist on chili that you can customize to your own preferences. Today’s version is a turkey chili (no surprise there; it’s one of my favorite recipes to make). This was a great dish to whip up when I had a bit of extra chili leftover from a previous dinner. Instead of fighting over it with Justin, I created this combination for us to share.
I have a secret: up until a few years ago I did not like coconut.
Ok, maybe it wasn’t that I didn’t like it – it was one of those foods I probably convinced myself I didn’t like as a kid and in reality have no idea WHY I didn’t like it. I did that with avocados too. What was I thinking? Clearly, I have been shown the error of my ways as the years passed. I am happy to say that coconut is now one of my obsessions. If a dessert contains coconut: I want it. If a lotion or soap smells like coconut: it’s as good as mine. I could continue with this thought process, but I think you see where I’m going.