Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Arancini aka Fried Mushroom Risotto Balls

Imagine you are on a cruise ship, sailing the ocean blue, but in 2014, not 1492.  Imagine you are seated a private table in the dining room - oh so nice.  Now keep in mind the next table on either side is a mere 4 inches away so it certainly isn't that private.  (You can do an amazing amount of ignoring if you so chose.)
Early in the day you saw the menu for this fancy sit down plated dinner... opted to come to the dining room rather than the buffet line for something called Arancini.  Oh yeah.  What is that?  You ask?  It's a fancy way of saying Fried Rice Balls.
Before the cruise - I'd only heard about Arancini, but eaten them before.  They certainly seemed like something I would like.  After enjoying them thoroughly, I decided I wanted to try to make them at home.
We had planned company for New Year's Eve but sadly they had to cancel.  We didn't plan to cancel our menu.  These were on the menu and on my mind.
These Arancini were a fair amount of work but I feel worth every bite.  When I made them I did not give them enough time to chill - next time for sure, this time I was too excited to eat them.

Arancini or Fried Mushroom Risotto Balls
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 blespoons butter
4 ounces fresh cremini and/or button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz mozzarella cheese cut in 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup uncooked rice
2 14 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs

 1.Lightly grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook until onion is tender and liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add rice; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until rice starts to brown.
2.Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring broth to boiling; reduce heat and simmer. Slowly add 1 cup of the broth to rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until liquid is absorbed. Add an additional 1/2 cup of the broth to rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed. (This should take about 15 minutes.) Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cheese, parsley, and pepper.
3.Pour rice mixture into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until completely chilled. Using lightly greased or wet hands, shape mixture into 1-inch balls, mixing in cheese cubes. (you can also use a cookie scoop) Return balls to the baking pan. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until balls are completely chilled.
4.In a large skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium-high heat. Roll rice balls in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs to coat.
5.Cook rice balls, one-fourth at a time, in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, carefully turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove rice balls and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven while cooking the remaining rice balls.

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