It is pretty poor form for us to miss one of our closest friend’s birthdays but thankfully Arianna is so poised, dignified and understanding … particularly when it comes to rebooting CHiPs, which fun fact, is her favourite show of all time.
We have been close friends with Arianna and the wider Huffington family for the best part of the last three decades, with Annelie working as her campaign manager in the 2003 California recall election and while I went rogue, working pro-boner to bring down Arnie.
Sadly, I wasn’t his type and couldn’t get the right scandalous images and Arianna withdrew from the race after discovering my unethical plan but thankfully we were able to inspire her to launch the phenomenon that is The Huffington Post after a casual-power-lunch at Nobu.
While Arianna left lunch to get straight to work on building her empire, we lingered at the restaurant and commenced our long running feud with Yolanda Foster (we ended up giving her lyme disease) and quickly fled the country to avoid arrests.
Being a saint, Arianna forgave us for our behaviour and has continue to support us publically as often as possible, most recently when I was campaigned for the non-existent role of King of Movember.
Wanting to impress Arianna during her quick jaunt to Brisbane (and make up for our tardiness), we opted to whip out our famed, noted and totally thriving Arianncini Huffington.
Like dear Ari, the Arianncini are textured, complex, warm with a bit of a kick and a warm gooey centre. All in all, a delight.
Enjoy and happy belated birthday dear friend!
900ml Chicken Stock
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
340g marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
300g arborio rice
¼ cup dry white wine
30g unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup finely grated parmesan
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
100g mozzarella, cut into small cubes (you could trade out for fetta)
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups (200g) dried breadcrumbs
Bring stock to the boil over high heat and keep at a gentle simmer.
Heat oil in a large, heavy-based pan over medium-low heat, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add artichokes and rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to coat grains. Add wine and stir for 3-4 minutes until almost evaporated. Add a ladleful of stock and allow it to be absorbed. Repeat until all of the stock is used. Reduce heat and continue until rice is cooked but still firm to the bite (10-ish minutes max). Stir in butter, parmesan, lemon and chilli, and season to taste. Spread risotto in a shallow dish to cool, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
I find it is easy to work with if it was in the fridge for only a few hours.
Preheat oven to 200 C. Line a tray with baking paper. Place 1 tablespoon of risotto in the palm of your hand and flatten slightly. Place a piece of mozzarella in the centre, then roll up to enclose and form a smooth ball. Place on the tray. Repeat with remaining risotto, then chill balls for 10 minutes. Place flour, egg and crumbs in separate bowls. Dust risotto balls in flour, then dip in egg, roll in crumbs and return to tray.
Drizzle balls with oil and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp, turning halfway through baking. Yes, I am aware that is a terrible instruction, but I’m scared of frying the balls.
Best served with a spicy tomato sauce. Surely we have a recipe laying around here, somewhere?