Ohhh man. There are so many ways to serve this delicious appetizer. You can serve it on a bed of marinara with a fork – or on a platter with a skewer and a little dipping sauce. Either way, your guests will love you – they’re crispy on the outside with a cheesy, creamy interior. And the best part is that they can be made in the Air Fryer or the oven to keep things easy (no messy grease splatters to clean up!) and, coincidentally, they’re a lot healthier.
It’s not often that heathy AND golden-brown-and-crispy go together. But they do today.
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup Yellow Sweet Onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio (short-grain) Rice
1 quart (4 cups) Chicken Stock
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, divided
3 Tablespoons finely chopped Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 egg, beaten
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons fresh chopped Parsley
Olive Oil Spray or Duck Fat Spray
Extra parmesan and parsley, for garnish
Marinara Sauce, for dipping
1. Cook the onions: In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened and translucent. Remove to a separate bowl and wipe out the pan.
2. Make the risotto: Return the pan to the medium heat and add the rice and 2 cups of chicken stock. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another cup of stock and cook the same way until mostly absorbed. Add the final cup of stock and cook until rice is tender and has created it’s own creamy sauce. Stir in the cooked onions, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.
3. Pour rice mixture out onto a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool completely – about 1 hour.
4. Prep your dipping & breading station: In a small bowl, add the beaten egg, set aside. In a medium-width, shallow bowl, add the panko bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons chopped parsley – set aside.
5. Take your pan of chilled risotto rice mixture from the fridge and place in a bowl. Scoop balls about 1 1/2-inches in diameter and place back on tray. One at a time, dip in egg to completely cover and then roll in the panko mixture to coat. Lightly spray all sides of the risotto balls with olive oil spray or Pam.
6. Cook the Risotto Bites using an Air Fryer: Set the temperature to 400F and place risotto balls in the air fryer drawer, without about an inch or so of space in between. Set the timer for 8 minutes and cook until golden brown, adding more time if necessary. **The Air Fryer will need to preheat before the first batch – add 3 minutes to the timer that first time around. Every other batch will be 8-10 minutes.
7. OR Cook the Risotto Bites using an Oven: preheat your oven to 450F and place balls on a foil-lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping once during cooking – remove from oven when risotto bites are golden brown.
8. Sprinkle with extra parmesan and parsley. Serve with marinara sauce.