Italian Meatball Risotto

I don’t know how to make risotto.  I just tried it once, and it tasted good to me, so I go with it.  If I invited a food critic over for dinner, my risotto might be heavily critiqued-who knows….but again, it’s good enough for me!

Looking to clean out the pantry and fridge of a few items, and with a relentless craving for (my version of) risotto, I decided to really challenge myself and come up with my own, original risotto recipe.  Now, knowing that I don’t know how to make risotto, you might want to call this “Italian Meatball Rice,” but I’m going to continue pretending to be fancy, so the word Risotto will remain in the title 😉

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I wrote down a couple of items I had that I wanted/needed to get rid of: Rice, marinara, spinach, and ground beef.  Next I added the base for risotto: Arborio rice, broth, and wine (okay, maybe you don’t haaaave to have wine..).  And finally, I threw in some spices and cheeses to round everything out.

I made sure to make the recipe one that I could easily halve or double.  If you make it with the quantities I list here, it will serve about 8 people. 

Per serving:        Calories:  370
              Fat: 18.6         Carbs: 25.8           Protein: 24.4
Find this recipe on the MyFitnessPal  app under “Meatball Marinara Risotto.”

 

Italian Meatball Risotto:

Ingredients:

  • 1 T. butter
  • 2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine  (you can trade this for water if you wish)
  • 2-4 cups water
  • 1, 10 oz. box of spinach, drained
  • 1 T. basil
  • 1 T. parsley
  • 2 t. oregano
  • 20 oz. of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese diced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Meatballs– you can purchase frozen meatballs, or follow the recipe below to make your own.

  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 1 egg white (3 T. of liquid egg white)
  • 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper

 

Procedure:

For the meatballs, combine thawed beef with beaten egg white, breadcrumbs, and seasonings.  Fold everything together until well combined.  Form 1/2 inch- inch meatballs. and bake at 350 for 10 minutes on a foil-lined tray.

For the risotto, melt the butter over medium heat in a large and wide saucepan (I use a wok for risotto).  Once melted, add the Arborio rice and stir around for about 2 minutes until golden.  Add the wine (or water, if you please) and let it simmer down until almost no liquid.  Continue stirring.  Note: If you do use wine, it is fun because it makes a lot of noise and steam upon pouring it in so you’ll totally feel like a top chef 😉

When liquid is visibly reduced, add one cup of broth and simmer and stir until you almost see no extra liquid. This will take three-four minutes.  Repeat this process with the other three cups of broth.  If the rice looks plump and soft, stop there, if not, repeat the simmering process with a couple cups of water.  I think I used one cup of water when I made this.

When your last cup of liquid is nearly dissolved, add the marinara sauce, spinach, and seasonings.  Give that a couple minutes to heat up and then throw in the cheeses and the (now cooked) meatballs.  Turn off the heat, and stir so that everything is combined, and cheeses are just starting to melt.  Serve, and enjoy!

 

What other ingredients would you like to see in a risotto? Leave me some feedback below!

Must-Make Gingerbread Cookies

Something about gingerbread just says Christmastime to me.  If you like gingerbread-or even if you don’t- these cookies are PERFECTION.  They are full of spice, and very soft. I have made these multiple times over the last few years and they sure do please a crowd!  Enjoy.

Must-Make Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients

  •  4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

 

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
  2. Mix in eggs, one at a time, and then molasses. Reduce speed to low.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt and add to bowl; mix on low until just combined. Add more flour if needed.  Dough should not be overly sticky.
  4. Roll dough out between parchment or the Dough E-Z mat, and let it rest by refrigerating until cold, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut out cookie shapes and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, approximately 2 inches apart, and re-roll out dough and cut shapes as needed. Refrigerate until firm; at least 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Bake cookies until lightly golden; 10 to 14 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the cookie. Let cool on wire racks and serve as is or decorate with icing.

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This recipe has been adapted from sweetopia.net

My Notes

The only issue I ever have with these is the sticky-ness of the dough.  If it still seems sticky after the initial hour in the fridge, add flour!  The dough should look and feel like normal sugar cookie dough.

I like to frost these with a simple, white icing.  I tried a ‘dipped’ technique this year that worked really well. (And of course didn’t take a picture! Ugh.)  Just mix powdered sugar with a little water until you get an icing mixture with a slightly runny consistency.  Dip half of the cookie in the icing mixture and then let it drip off until only a thin layer is left clinging to the cookie.  Dry on wax paper and then muse over the uber-elegant look 😉