Risotto Balls with Marinara Dipping Sauce

I love when you can incorporate leftovers from one meal into a new dinner the next night. I am a huge fan of risotto, but it can get a little old eating reheated risotto after a few nights. Risotto balls are the perfect way to still use those leftovers but have a completely different meal. I used my leftover Mushroom Risotto for this recipe, but feel free to use whatever you might have.
1 cup risotto
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 large egg
6 fresh mozzarella balls
1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup marinara sauce (I used Pomi Tomato Basil sauce)
Oil, for frying

Add the risotto, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, basil, and the egg to a small bowl. Mix to combine.
Form the risotto into palm sized balls, adding a mozzarella ball in the center and forming the risotto around the mozzarella ball. (It should make 6 risotto balls)
Add the remaining bread crumbs to a plate. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (This will help the risotto balls keep their shape when you fry them.)
While waiting for the 30 minutes to pass, chop the shallot and garlic. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the shallot and garlic.
Cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup marinara sauce and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Keep warm.
Heat the oil to 350 to 375 degrees. (I was a bit low on canola oil so I actually only ended up putting about an inch depth of oil in the pot. It still turned out fine, but having enough to cover the risotto balls would make this easier/quicker to make.) Add the risotto balls two at a time.
Cook until cooked, turning to cook evenly (about 3-5 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel. Serve while still hot with the marinara sauce.
These are crunchy little balls of deliciousness. I didn’t know risotto could taste better than it already did until now!
The risotto was so yummy I completely forgot about the mozzarella ball in the center, but was more than happy to come upon it!
It didn’t melt all the way, which I would have preferred, but it was still delicious. The marinara sauce was the perfect dipping accompaniment. I love the Pomi Tomato Basil sauce because it really doesn’t need anything to make it taste awesome. (I’ve written two posts in the past about all the positives of Pomi. Check them out here and here)
Is it bad that I might put some risotto to the side from now on just so I can have these the next day?


  1. says

    These look fantastic, I really like that you added the basil leaves in there, such a great flavor and the mozzarella in the center. Yes!

  2. says

    This is a brilliant idea! I love making risotto but I end up tossing it out because I always make too much. (eyes bigger than my belly, my mother always said)

  3. says

    This looks really good and yummy! Now I need to take out the risotto cake recipe I got from Whole Foods. I like the addition of the cheese.

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