Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

You might be asking what Riscotta balls are?  I decided to mix risotto with ricotta cheese and came up with the name Riscotta.  They’re inspired by Arancini balls which are usually filled with parmesan cheese.  They’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with plenty of texture.  Let me know what you think.

They are a bit messy to roll into balls but well worth it in the end.  I made the mistake of removing some from the oil with a pronged slotted spoon and ended up stabbing them to death.  Oops!  Just use a regular slotted spoon.  LOL.

Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

Photographed by Deborah

Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Makes 24

300g pumpkin, diced
4 cups homemade vegetable stock or chicken stock (I used chicken stock)
2 tsp olive oil
½ large onion, diced
1 garlic, crushed
1½ cups Arborio rice
Roughly 50g spinach, stems removed
½ cup pine nuts
Homemade ricotta cheese
Rice crumbs (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 200°C.

Roast your pumpkin for about ½ hour until tender.  In the meantime in a saucepan bring your stock to a simmer.  In a separate pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the rice and stir for about 2 mins.  Add 1 cup of stock at a time to the rice until absorbed.  Turn off the heat.  Add the pumpkin, spinach and pine nuts and stir in gently until the spinach has wilted.

Lay the rice out on a baking tray to cool a little.  Roll into balls about a ¼ cup in size and insert some ricotta cheese into the centre.  Roll in rice crumbs (optional).  Fry in vegetable oil (fully immersed) until golden brown.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Little Miss Muffet ate what?  Curds and Whey?  I loved my nursery rhymes as a little girl but that sounded awful.  It happens to be Ricotta Cheese or Cottage Cheese.

The curd is the ricotta cheese and the remaining liquid is whey.  Whey is said to be very good for your skin and the Swiss are known to add it to their baths to soak in.  Others reserve and substitute it for water in bread making or pizza bases, or even add a little to their drinks.

If you have half an hour to spare, give this a go and enjoy your curds and whey.  Just keep an eye out for spiders! LOL.

Photographed by Deborah

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Makes about 2 ½ cups

8 cups (2 litres) full cream milk (avoid low-fat or UHT milk)
½ cup full cream
1 tsp salt
¼ cup lemon juice (from 1½ large lemons)

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a large saucepan and gradually heat until almost boiling (when bubbles and froth start to appear turn down to simmer).  If it boils remove it from the heat.  Add the lemon juice and stir only once.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes.  It should start to separate now.  Remove it from the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Place a fine sieve over a large bowl (or use 2 layers of muslin over a colander), pour the milk into the sieve and let it drain for about 1 hour or overnight until you get your desired consistency.

The ricotta will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Tip:  If you would like a dryer ricotta, let it drain for longer.  If the ricotta is too dry, add some of the whey back into the curd.