There seems to be a week/day/month for everything these days. Some of which I can get behind more than others. 19-25th September 2016 marks the very first #NationalRiceWeek which I'm delighted to help celebrate with a recipe for Mozzarella Stuffed Mushroom Arancini. Rice is an absolute store cupboard staple of mine. Everything from brown rice, risotto, sushi, wild, pudding and basmati. A quick look back at recipes I've created for the blog found a whole host that featured rice, here's some of my favourites.
Love Rice have teamed up with the major rice brands, supermarkets and food magazines and throughout the week will be encouraging us all to to break free from our meal ruts with the help of rice. Keep a look out on social media for the #NationalRiceWeek hashtag where you'll find lots of inspiration. There's a different theme planned for each day of National Rice Week covering everything from leftover rice to packed lunches, Friday night Fakeaway's and bento. Love Rice want to inspire people to try new rice recipes, new rice varieties, dishes from a new cuisine, and to try different styles of rice. I'm a recent convert to both frozen rice and pre-cooked rice. I will put my hands up an admit that when I first spotted them in the shops I was a total food snob and thought they were something that I'd never use. How wrong was I?! I am a total convert to their convenience, flavours and versatility. Just another way to harness the delicious, aromatic, healthy and nutritious qualities of rice.
Moving on to the recipe I've created for Mozzarella Stuffed Mushroom Arancini. As always a recipe is only a starting point. You could make these from any kind leftover risotto, you could even make your risotto from leftover rice, just add some cream to get the right consistency. Rather than deep or shallow fry my Arancini I've sprayed them with oil and then oven baked them. This works really well and the double coating of Panko goes nice and crispy. The hidden surprise of a gooey piece of Mozzarella in the middle is my favourite part of the dish.
I'm somewhat of a fan of kitchen gadgets and gizmos and the wooden spoon you see in the photo below is in fact a risotto spoon. I'm not entirely sure if it makes a difference but the idea is that the large hole in the middle means that you can stir the rice constantly without breaking as many grains as you might with a solid spoon thus the rice isn't ground into mush. However a quick Google revealed another potential reason for the hole in that its there so some of the rice can pass through for a smoother and more flowing stirring action. Either way I suspect that the concept of my spoon may have come from a marketing department rather than Italy! I'm sure you'll manage risotto making just fine with a regular wooden spoon!
Serves 4 (or 2 with leftovers being made into Arancini)
1 Tbsp Rapeseed Oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
300g mushrooms, sliced ( I used a mixture of white and chestnut)
300g Risotto Rice
1 litre Vegetable or Chicken Stock
Large knob of Butter
25g Parmesan, grated (or Vegetarian alternative)
Salt and Pepper
Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan and add the chopped onion and crushed garlic. Fry over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
Add the sliced mushrooms and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the rice and coat it in the oil, mushroom and onion mixture.
Pour in a couple of hundred ml of the stock and simmer, stirring regularly, until the liquid has been absorbed.
Carry on adding stock in this way until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. This will take about 30 minutes. (You may need to add additional water if your stock runs out before the rice is fully cooked)
Take the risotto off the heat and add the butter, Parmesan and chopped Parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper. You want it to be creamy and oozy in texture so add a wee bit more stock/water if you think it needs it.
Enjoy half as Risotto and coll and refrigerate the other half to make Mozzarella Stuffed Mushroom Arancini
Mozzarella Stuffed Mushroom Arancini
Half portion of Mushroom Risotto, chilled
125g Tub of Mini Mozzarella Pearls or 125g Ball of Mozzarella divided into 8 pieces
160g Panko Breadcrumbs
2 Free Range Eggs
Fresh Basil, Shaved Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative) and Black Pepper to serve
Preheat the oven to 200c
Divide the risotto mixture into 8 equal portions.
To form the arancini, scoop a portion of the cooled risotto into your hand and in the middle place a piece of mozzarella. Wrap the risotto around it to seal completely and form into a ball.
Repeat with the remaining risotto and Mozzarella.
Place the flour, egg and Panko in separate shallow bowls. Carefully dip each arancini ball in the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg, and finally the Panko, ensuring the rice is completely coated.
Repeat again with the egg and the Panko so each ball has a double coating of breadcrumbs.
Place the Aranchini on a baking sheet and spritz them with Spray Oil.
Bake for 15 minutes before turning and spritzing again. Return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are just starting to brown.
Heat through the Passata in a saucepan. Divide it between bowls and serve the Aranchini on top garnished with fresh Basil, shaved Parmesan and black pepper.
For further #NationalRiceWeek inspiration check out the following recipes from fellow food bloggers
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