Chef Elena Balletta’s perfect side & holiday hors d’oeuvre

Local Brooklyn chef Elena Balletta has contributed these two specialty recipes. The Broccoli Raab with Roasted Sunchokes is a tasty side dish that goes well with any holiday meal. The Arancini make perfect holiday hors d’oeuvres; pass them around pre-meal or place them out as a snack.

BROCCOLI RAAB SAUTÉ WITH ROASTED SUNCHOKES

Serves 6
2 bunches (3 pounds) broccoli raab
2 pounds sunchokes, scrubbed, skin left on
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chili flakes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Blanch broccoli raab and immediately transfer to ice bath. Drain well and rough chop. Set aside.
• Coat sunchokes in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven about 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from oven and cool.
• When sunchokes are cooled, slice into .” rounds. Set aside.
• Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Sweat shallots in small amount of olive oil, until soft. Add chili flakes and garlic to pan. Cook about another 3 minutes.
• Add broccoli raab and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
• Add sunchokes and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

APPLE-GRUYÈRE ARANCINI

Yield: 24 small arancini

1 quart jasmine rice
1/2 large onion, diced small
1/4 cup white wine
1 3/4 quarts vegetable stock
1 cup granny smith apple, peeled and grated
1 cup cave-aged gruyere, grated
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon picked-fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups canola oil

• Sautée onion in olive oil until translucent.
• Add rice, salt, and pepper and let cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Add wine and stock. Bring to a boil.
• Stir and lower to a simmer. Cover.
• Cook for about 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
• Spread on lightly oiled sheet tray to cool.
• Transfer rice to large mixing bowl. Add apple, gruyere, herbs, chili flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
• Roll rice into golf-sized balls. Place rice balls on parchment-lined sheet tray or large plate.
• Place breadcrumbs and flour in separate shallow bowls.
• Whisk together eggs and milk.
• Create a small assembly line (rice ball tray, egg/milk mixture, flour, and breadcrumbs).
• One by one, dip each rice ball into the egg mixture. Shake excess egg off. Roll in flour. Repeat egg dip. Finish by coating in breadcrumbs. Place on parchmentlined sheet tray or large plate. Repeat with all rice balls.
• Bring oil to 350 degrees F in medium shallow pot or deep fryer. Slowly lower 5 to 6 rice balls at a time into oil. Fry until golden brown, turning every so often. Scoop onto paper towel–lined sheet tray or large plate. Repeat with all rice balls. Sprinkle with with salt.
• Serve warm or at room temperature.