You have invited a couple of friends over for wine and chats, and you are wondering what to serve as an appetizer that pairs well with the wine, without having to cook for hours… Don’t worry. we have the perfect recipe for you! One that will impress your friends without leaving you exhausted.
The rice balls with Martino Couscous, stuffed with broccoli and non-dairy cheese, will amaze even the vegan or lactose-intolerant friend. They look great when served and, if you have planned in advanced and have some of them handy in your freezer, you will need just 15 minutes to prepare them.
Recipe by Sara Bonaccorsi
Here is how to prepare Martino’s Couscous rice balls with broccoli and vegan cheese
Servings: 2-4 balls
Refrigerate: 30 minutes
Baking: 15 minutes
- 300 ml of water
- 300 grams of Martino Couscous
- 100 grams of non-dairy or vegan cheese
- 150 grams of broccoli
- Bread crumbs
- Extra virgin olive oil
Boil the broccoli florets:
Bring a large, deep pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and toss in the broccoli florets. Florets cook sufficiently for 5-7 minutes, depending on their size. To make sure they are cooked, pierce the center with a knife to see if it’s soft throughout.
But bee careful!
Don’t let the broccoli florets over-boil. When cooked more than needed they unlock the smelly
sulfurous compounds and release an off-putting odor.
Remove the broccoli as soon as the stems are getting soft and drain them well.
Sauté the broccoli:
In a saucepan, add extra virgin olive oil and toss a garlic clove inside. Garlic usually does best if it’s cooked quickly and over medium heat. About thirty seconds will do the trick. This is just enough time to cook off the rawness, allow the flavor to mellow into the dish, and let the aroma to hit its peak.
You’ll know it’s done when you can smell the garlic and your mouth starts watering! When ready, add the boiled broccoli, mash it with a fork and let them absorb the flavor over high heat for a few minutes. Set aside.
Hydrate the couscous:
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add 300 ml of water and one teaspoon of salt a simmer.
When the water is simmering, remove from the heat and sprinkle 300 grams of Martino Couscous.
Make sure to distribute the couscous evenly and leave it aside with a lid on top for 4-5 minutes until all the water is completely absorbed.
Now, the couscous should be fully hydrated. Fluff it with a fork. This will remove any lumps and separate the delicate grains without crushing them to give the couscous a light, fluffy texture.
Allow the couscous to cool completely before proceeding.
Assemble the rice balls:
In order to assemble these melt-in-your-mouth Martino’s Couscous rice balls you might need a mold. However, you can always shape them by hand. In that case remember that the most important thing is to press the couscous balls well to prevent them from opening during the cooking phase.
Fill in the mold with the hydrated couscous and “pierce” a deep well in the middle. Stuff the couscous rice balls with broccoli and vegetable cheese and cover again with couscous. When removed from the mold, you should have a complete couscous ball with the vegetables in its center.
Cooking the couscous rice balls:
To begin with, roll the balls into bread crumbs and put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to become even more firm. When the time has passed, remove them and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top of them.
The couscous rice balls are now ready for baking: place in a preheated oven 180ºC for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
If you want something more appetizing, you can deep fry the couscous rice balls instead of baking them!
Remember: before baking or frying the Martino’s Couscous rice balls with broccoli, you do not need to defrost them. That said, you can prepare the rice balls and keep them in the freezer to cook them later.
Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter to receive all the delicious Martino’s recipes directly in your inbox!
This recipe is such a delight. You’ll never think twice next time you want to invite friends over. Organizing gatherings will never be overwhelming again!
The rice balls’ with Martino Couscous are a great pairing to white wine. However, we do not guarantee that you won’t enjoy them over some cold beers.
What kind of drink would you serve them with? Leave a comment to tell us about it.