Wild Mushroom Arancini with Mozzarella

Use up leftover risotto in this moreish Italian starter.

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time30 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyMedium

For the wild mushroom risotto

20g unsalted butter
5g chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
10g freshly grated Parmesan or vegetarian alternative
1 tbsp mascarpone
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned, washed
2 tbsps olive oil
60ml white wine
100g risotto rice, preferably Carnaroli
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon

For the arancini

Wild mushroom risotto, recipe above
1 buffalo mozzarella
40g plain flour
2 medium free range eggs
50g Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or normal breadcrumbs
Sunflower or groundnut oil for frying
Handful rocket leaves
Handful Parmesan shavings
30ml balsamic vinegar
4 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
This was invented as a way of using up leftover risotto from the night before. It is what the Italians call arancina, which means orange in reference to the shape of the risotto ball. It is absolutely delicious; the crisp outer coating, soft risotto and warm mozzarella create the ultimate comfort food.

Wild mushroom risotto:
1) Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic, cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. Pour the chicken stock into a separate pan and bring to a simmer.

2) Add the rice to the onions and coat in the butter. Add the white wine, boil and reduce for 2 minutes. Add just enough hot stock to cover the rice.

3) Heat the olive oil in a separate frying pan and fry the mushrooms for 3 minutes until golden brown. Season and add to the rice. Cook the rice and mushrooms for 10 minutes, adding a little more stock once the previous batch has been absorbed by the rice.

4) When the rice has softened but still has a slight bite, add the mascarpone, Parmesan, parsley and lemon juice. If serving immediately, taste and adjust seasoning and serve. For making arancina, pour into a large shallow dish, leave for 10 minutes to cool down, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm.

1) Once the risotto is firm to touch, form into four balls using your hands. Keep rolling the risotto in the palm of your hands to achieve the right shape. Cut four pieces off the mozzarella that are the size of a pound coin. Insert a finger into the centre and insert a piece of mozzarella in the middle, closing the hole by pushing the risotto back together. Chill.

2) When the risotto balls are set, take three plates or bowls. Put the flour on one, break and whisk the eggs into another and place the breadcrumbs on the third. Take the risotto balls out of the fridge, coat well in the flour, then in the eggs and finally the breadcrumbs.

3) Half fill a pan with oil and heat until hot enough that a pinch of breadcrumbs sizzles when dropped in to the oil. Alternatively, heat a deep fat fryer to 170C. Deep fry the risotto balls for 5 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Serve on a plate with rocket and Parmesan shavings, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

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