Mostly these recipes exist in my head for a few weeks before I finally translate them into actual food. Â I don't have time to cook every night, or anything even close, so the ideas build up for quite some time before I get to test them out.
Months ago, when I imagined a birthday party for my fiance, I knew that I wanted some way to make risotto into a finger food. Â At my last party, I had experimented with croissant dough out of a tube as a base for pastry cups, and let me just say: there's a reason they didn't make it onto this site. Â Besides looking like they'd come straight from a Pillsbury can, my filling (roasted peppers and cheese) looked like I was trying to make pizza bites, rather than gourmet hors d'oeuvres.
But puff pastry, on the other hand, is just lovely. Â Flaky and delicate, it brings a lightness to these that I didn't even expect. Â The risotto, dense and creamy, adds a ton of Â flavor and the friend sage leaves on top are just, I thought, icing on the cake. Â (As a warning, though, they burn incredibly quickly -- you can't take your eyes off them for a moment!)
These were my favorite savory recipe that I've made in quite some time. Â If you have a party coming up, or just want a slightly fancier start to a great dinner, try them out!
Sage and Caramelized Onion Risotto Cups
1 cup arborio rice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
3 medium sized onions, peeled and sliced thin
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 tbsp butter
1 cup shaved parmesan
4 tbsp chopped sage leaves
18 whole sage leaves
Vegetable oil, for frying
Roll puff pastry until thin and cut each sheet into 9 squares. Place each square in a mini muffin tin and shape into a small cup. Bake the puff pastry in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, and set aside to cool.
Heat vegetable oil in a small frying pan for a few minutes, until hot. Using a slotted spoon or a strainer, dip the whole sage leaves into the hot oil for about 20 seconds, or until the sputtering has stopped and the leaves have turned crispy. Allow to cool on a paper towel.
Also, heat 2 tbsp olive oil, some salt and the sliced onions in a saute pan on low heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the onions have reduced and caramelized, stirring frequently. When the onions are reduced and dark, add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and remove from heat. Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, place the rice and 2 tbsp olive oil in a stock pot, stirring the rice to coat it. Toast for about 45 seconds, and then add 1/2 cup white wine and 1 cup chicken stock. Warm the rest of the stock in a saute pan on another burner, and as the rice has soaked up the water, add another 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. When all the stock is gone, taste the rice -- if it's not fully cooked, continue to add 1/2 cup of water at a time until it's done. When the rice si fully cooked, stir in the sage and caramelized onions, wait about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, and then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter (chopped into tablespoons) and parmesan cheese.
Scoop the risotto into the pastry cups with a melon baller, and top with the fried sage leaves. Serve.