Italians eat lentils on New Year's for wealth and prosperity because the flat legumes were believed to resemble Roman coins. But at the Krevat's home, we eat lentils at least twice a week. In the summer we use it as the main ingredient in our salads, and in the winter, we love thick stews.
The recipes I'm sharing with you today are two creative ways to take lentils to the next level. Years ago, while on a trip to Florence, Steve introduced me to supplis, that is how they are called in the Tuscan areas. Supplis are telephone pole lines as they are filled with mozzarella which resembles the lines on the telephone posts once you take a bite into it.
In Sicily, these delicious rice balls are called arancini, and they are usually filled with a beef ragu. Here in Montana, I created the beluga lentil suppli, filled with mozzarella and a delightful dish for your New Year's Day. It does require some planning as you should prepare the risotto in advance so that it is starchier and easier to handle once you attempt to give it its shape.
In our home, I also serve supplis or arancinis for lunch with a salad. If you are in a celebrative mode, accompany it with a flute of Prosseco or a crispy Verdicchio.
These rice croquettes are native to Southern Italy. They are often called Suppli al Telephono, (Telephone Wires), in Rome or Arancini in Sicily. They make a great antipasto or side dish. Feel free to double the recipe and freeze.
Makes 10 Rice Balls Makes 3 cups Marinara Sauce GF, Vegetarian, (Can be made vegan by eliminating the Parmesan/Asiago)
Ingredients for the Marinara 1 28-ounce can of peeled tomatoes 3 garlic cloves, smashed 2 teaspoons Kosher salt 1/4 cup olive oil 1 TBSP butter
2 ounces dried mushrooms, rehydrated Dash of Truffle oil
Directions for the Marinara
1. Open the tomato can and insert in immersion blender into it and blitz a few times. Go as chunky or as smooth as you like your sauce.
2. Pour puree into a Dutch oven and add garlic, salt, dried mushrooms, and olive oil.
3. Allow simmering at medium, lower to medium-low, and cook for about 20 minutes.
4. Before you are ready to serve, add butter and a dash of truffle oil.
Ingredients for the Risotto 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 1/2 small sweet onion, chopped, about 1/4 cup 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt 1 cup Arborio rice 2 cups of water
1 cup Marinara Sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan/Asiago Cheese, grated 3/4 cup fine ground corn flour or semolina 3 to 4 Mozzarella sticks cut into 1/2 inches each for a total of 10 1 1/2 cups of vegetable, canola, grapeseed oil for frying
Instructions for the Risotto
1. In a medium-sized Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat grains.
3. Slowly add one cup of water and stir. You want to release the starches and make the rice sticky.
4. Add salt and ground garlic; stir again.
5. Add the second cup of water, a little at a time, stirring softly and continuously.
6. Cook for about 20 minutes, not stopping the stirring. Rice will be al dente but not wet.
7. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl.
8. Place bowl in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This will allow ingredients to "stick" together.
To Shape the Arancini
1. The easiest way to shape the rice ball is with an ice cream scoop. If you don't have one, then use two tablespoons to create a ball, the size of a ping pong ball.
2. Once you have the rice mixture in the scoop, take your index finger and poke a hole through the middle of the mixture. If you don't have the ice-cream scoop, then hold the rice ball on one of your hands, and with the other, use your finger to poke a hole in the middle.
3. Reshape the ball so as to cover the hole you just created. You don't want the cheese exposed as it will leak once you fry the arancini.
4. In a cookie sheet pan, add the cornflour. Dust each arancini and place it in another pan.
5. Once you have used all of your ingredients, you will have about 10 rice balls shaped, place in the freezer for at least 15-20 minutes. This process will make sure they are nice and firm.
6. In a Dutch oven, add the 1 1/2 cup of oil. Heat to 350 degrees and place as many arancinis as will fit comfortably, maybe 4 or 5.
7. Fry until they are nice and toasty.
8. Remove and place in a paper towel-lined cookie sheet pan.
To Assemble Each Plate
1. Take a half cup of the warm marinara sauce and pour it into a salad plate. Brush sauce so it spreads evenly on the plate.
2. Place two arancini over the sauce and top with shaved parmesan.
If making the aranccini appears to be a laborious task, then opt for our Lentil Salsa. If you cannot find ripe and sweet nectarines, substitute them for cantaloupe or even semi-ripe mango.
Lentil Salsa- Great over fish, pork tenderloin, or chips!
2 cups Timeless Food Beluga lentils, cooked 1/2 cup nectarines, cubed small 1/2 cup red bell peppers, cubed small 1/2 cup English cucumber, cubed small
For the dressing 1/4 cup red onion, sliced very thin 2 TBSP mint, cut thin 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 2 TBSP rice vinegar 1 teaspoon orange jam 1 teaspoon jalapeno, chopped thin
1. Cook 1 cup of lentils following package instructions.
2. In a large bowl, assemble all salsa ingredients together.
3. For the dressing, place all ingredients in a metal bowl and whisk.
4. Blend marinade with lentil mixture.
5. Taste and add extra salt and pepper as needed.
6. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours so flavors marry.
7. Enjoy over fish, pork, chicken, or toss with salad greens. It also goes great with chips!