Savory Pistachio and Duck Risotto Balls with Warm Pistachio Sultana Gremolata by Chef Nathan Hood

4 to 6 servings

Risotto “Arancini”
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup Dry white wine
½ Onion, minced
2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 quart Chicken stock
2 legs of Duck confit
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ pound Whole butter
To taste, salt and pepper
1 pound Mozzarella, ½” cubes
3 Eggs
1 cup Milk
2 cups Panko (spun fine)
3 cups Pistachios

Pistachio Sultana Gremolata:
1 cup Toasted pistachios, chopped
½ cup Parsley, chopped
¼ cup Sultanas or golden raisinss, chopped
1 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1⁄8 cup Preserved lemon rind, minced
To taste, salt


For risotto “arancini” balls:
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a rondo until translucent. Add rice and toast it until it becomes very aromatic. Add wine and cook while stirring with a wooden spoon on medium to high heat, until the wine is almost gone, or “sec.” Add stock, ladle-by-ladle, for 24 minutes or until rice is al dente, stirring all the while. Remove from heat and fold in Parmesan, butter, confit (picked), 2 cups pistachios, salt and pepper. Place on a sheet tray lined with two pieces of parchment paper. Let cool.

When cool, take 2 oz. of finished rice and place Mozzarella cube in the center. With your hands, shape the rice into a golf ball-sized ball. Set up breading station by taking a bowl of all-purpose flour, a bowl of eggs and milk (whisked together) and a bowl of the panko and spun cup of pistachios. Drop the ball into each one in the same order, making sure to coat completely. Keep in the refrigerator, or fry immediately at 350°F for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

For pistachio sultana gremolata:
Mix all ingredients. Taste for seasoning and balance. Serve gremolata alongside risotto balls.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!