4 pieces of thick cut bacon diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium of leek chopped, white and pale green part only
1 cup of Arborio rice
3/4 cup of dry white wine
3 1/2-4 cups of chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper fresh
1/2 teaspon of salt
2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese grated
2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of parsley fresh, minced
2 teaspoons of basil dried
2 teaspoons of oregano dried
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 large of eggs
8 ounces of mozzarella fresh, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
34 ounces of oil for frying
- Place the diced bacon in the pan cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the bacon fat starts to render out. Add the chopped leeks and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the leeks start to soften. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 2 minutes or until the rice starts to turn translucent. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is nearly completely absorbed by the rice. Add the chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and cooking until the rice absorbs the stock before adding more stock. Continue adding and cooking the rice until 3 1/2 cups of stock is used. Taste the rice and if it is still too firm add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let sit to cool to room temperature, about an hour.
- Once the risotto has cooled, place the Panko bread crumbs, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Place the eggs in a medium bowl and beat with a fork until uniform in color. Wet your hands with water and using your fingers, scoop up about 1 tablespoon of the risotto and flatten it in to a thin disk in the middle of the palm of your hand. Place a cube of the mozzarella in the middle of the disk and make then make a fist with your hand, forming a ball of risotto around the mozzarella. Gently squeeze the risotto ball so it forms a tight ball around the cheese, forming a ball about 1-inch in diameter. Roll the ball in the beaten egg then in the herb panko crumbs. Place on a plate or a baking sheet and continue with the remaining risotto and cheese forming crumb coated balls.
- Once you’ve formed all the risotto balls, pour enough oil into the frying pan so it’s about 1/2 way up the sides of the pan. Heat the oil to 350˚F. Fry the risotto balls in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan too much, turning the balls as they fry with tongs for about 4-5 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Let cool slightly before serving.