Spinach Artichoke Risotto Bites are crispy bite-sized balls of creamy risotto coated in panko crumbs and fried until golden brown and crunchy. These are the perfect addition to your Super Bowl game day menu or a luxurious appetizer for your romantic Valentine’s dinner at home!
Confession Time: sometimes I make risotto just to have extra so I can make these Easy Risotto Cakes. Most people dislike leftover risotto, but not me, I embrace it. And by embrace it, I mean I fry it.
So last week, I made this and had a ton of leftovers. I was all ready to make my easy cakes and put an egg on it for breakfast the next morning, until Dawn at Girl Heart Food suggested I make arancini instead.
Ummm, fried little balls instead of cakes…I’M IN!!! And just like that, these crispy Spinach Artichoke Risotto Bites were created.
The only thing is I didn’t feel like I could straight legit call my recipe arancini, since my balls aren’t stuffed in the middle but instead they have the filling incorporated throughout the rice. Not to fret though, my recipe for the spinach artichoke risotto has a ton of cheese in it (3 cups!) so the fried balls do come out all moist and cheesy inside without the need to add the stuffed element at the center. BTW, check out Dawn’s version here of a rice ball with the ooey, gooey, molten lava cheese center if you’re feeling a little more traditional.
I picked up a great tip in this Serious Eats article that suggests replacing the flour and egg breading steps with a flour slurry. A slurry is a smooth mixture of a starch and a liquid typically used to thicken soups and sauces. Here the slurry is used to form a thin wet coating of the flour mixture on the outside of the risotto ball which acts like a glue for the finely ground panko crumbs or breadcrumbs. It produced an ultimate crunchy exterior and now I’m a believer in the slurry step.
Once fried, these crispy bites have the cheesy goodness of a great risotto, the smooth tanginess of spinach artichoke dip and the light crunch of the fried panko coating. What else could you want out of an appetizer? I served them during the football playoff games this past weekend and everyone loved them (yes my New England Patriots were playing and of course they won…GO PATS!!)
These spinach artichoke risotto bites were delish and so different than your traditional game day eats. Best served right from the fryer but they actually hold up really well and are still pretty darn good as they cool down. Want to re-crisp them? Reheat in the oven and they’re as good as new!
The bites are so delicious on their own but they also pair nicely with lots of different sauces. I served them with some leftover spicy salsa verde and with a marinara sauce, but bet they would be wonderful with a traditional tomato based salsa as well.
So go make some Spinach Artichoke Risotto for dinner tonight and use the leftovers for these crispy, downright yummy Spinach Artichoke Risotto bites! Your tummy will thank you 😉
- 2 cups leftover Spinach Artichoke Risotto, chilled
- 2 cups finely ground panko crumbs or breadcrumbs
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Neutral oil for frying (like vegetable or canola)
- Put the panko or breadcrumbs in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, make the slurry by whisking together ¼ cup of the water and the ¼ cup of flour into a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining ¼ cup of water. Take a couple of tablespoons of risotto and shape into a round ball. Gently roll the risotto ball in the flour slurry, then roll in the breadcrumbs until all sides are coated. Set aside on a plate and repeat process with the remaining risotto. Place the risotto balls in the refrigerator while oil heats up
- Place 3-4 inches of oil in a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan and heat to 350 degrees F. Set up a cooling rack over a baking sheet or use a paper lined plate and place next to the oil. Remove the risotto balls from the refrigerator. Using a slotted spoon, lower each one into the hot oil (3 or 4 at a time) and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Place on rack or paper towels to drain.
- Serve immediately plain or with your favorite sauce. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350 degrees F oven.