Well I think we can all agree the weather in Auckland has been utter crap for the last few days – and further north too. So much for barbecues (not that I’m much of a barbecuer), and salads eaten in the great outdoors. Instead, I seem to have been on a massive, slightly comforting, Italian roll lately – so what better recipe to share, than double mushroom arancini? A dear girlfriend came over for a drink with PD the other night (PD then left us to our gossipy dissection of life as we know it), and given she is vego, I thought I’d make one of my favourite things in the universe – also because having girlfriend/s for drinks really also translates to having snacks for dinner. I really want you to make these. They are honestly so bloody easy, just ever so slightly time consuming, but absolutely worth the effort. These are actually triple-mushroom given I stirred through some porcini crema at the end – it isn’t essential, just the icing on the cake. If I had some truffle salt or paste I would have used that instead, to amp up the mushroomy goodness.
I made a second lot to photograph today and will be dropping them off to Pog and his lovely boyfriend, on my way to pick up Hoob for chess and dinner. Last night they took me for a fantastic dinner at Aigo, just up the road in Ponsonby, and while there I quizzed them on their preference for arancini dippage – Pog prefers his with some well seasoned passata and his bf, with garlicky aioli. Whichever you go for, you can’t go wrong…I’d love to hear if you give them a whirl!
12g porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 tbsp white wine
1 1/3 cups good quality vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
250g finely chopped portobello mushrooms
2 tsp porcini or truffle crema
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
150g block mozzarella cut into 1.5cm cubes
4 cups breadcrumbs
3 eggs, whisked
5 cups high heat cooking oil
1 cup Best Foods mayo mixed with one crushed garlic clove /or
1 1/2 cups tomato passata simmered for 10 minutes with 1 clove crushed garlic, finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes and sea salt and pepper
Pour the boiling water over the dried mushrooms and leave for half an hour. Drain, reserving the liquid, and finely chop the rehydrated mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a big heavy bottomed saucepan and add the onion, sea salt and black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes over a medium gentle heat, then add garlic, cook for a couple of minutes then add the rice and cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes. Add the wine and rehydrated mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Mix the mushroom soaking water and stock in a microwave safe jug and nuke for a minute. Once most of the wine is absorbed add 2/3 cup of stock mixture. Keep stirring, adding warm stock as it becomes absorbed, ensuring the rice never dries out. Meanwhile heat the next lot of olive oil and butter together and cook the portobello mushrooms with plenty of salt and pepper, over a medium high heat for 5-8 minutes. After 20 minutes of rice cooking time, add the cooked portobello mushrooms to the risotto with the last of the stock and cook a further 4-5 minutes – the rice should be cooked but not mushy. Remove from the heat and stir through the grated parmesan and porcini crema, if using. Transfer the risotto to a container and chill until cool. OK – prepare yourself, this sounds like a real drag, but its not too bad! Take tablespoonfuls of cold risotto and poke a cheese cube in the middle. Roll into a ball then roll into breadcrumbs to coat. Do all of them, then starting with the first one again dip into whisked egg and roll in breadcrumbs again. You should end up with about 18, depending on how much of the hot risotto you ate before chilling. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours before cooking and up to 2 days.
Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan until it has a sheen on the surface and a bread cube dropped in will pop up to the surface and fry to golden in about 20 seconds. Fry the rice balls in batches of 5-6 at a time for 3-4 minutes until golden and heated through. Serve immediately with aioli or seasoned passata.