Oooh, it’s been a crazy few weeks from making gigantic crop circle emojis with the UK’s most subscribed male vlogger for a work client, to filming a TOWIE star eating weird and wonderful aphrodisiac foods for National Orgasm Day (which is a thing, apparently, who knew?) for another client, there’s one thing you can say about PR and that it’s never dull. It’s exhausting and sometimes frustrating, but it’s never dull. Well, it’s sometimes dull but there’s always something new and exciting to get stuck into just around the corner. And then I drove (sailed?) a boat for about four minutes, I saw Goldie perform Timeless with a live orchestra which was possibly the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve been significantly lacking in sleep for about a month.
So I’m honestly glad of the downtime because it meant I finally got back into the (ugly 1970s monstrosity) kitchen at the weekend. The wino had a stag do that started at midday on Saturday and he stumbled back into the spare bed at 4am on Sunday. Terrible debauched behaviour and obviously for me and my wallflower demeanour, I was frankly shocked and appalled. Ahem.
When the wino is out for the evening, I use the opportunity to make dinners he won’t like – and he weirdly is not a fan of risotto – but I love its gooey, unctuousness so I whipped up (an intentionally) large batch of wild mushroom and spinach risotto with a shit load of parmesan thrown in for good measure. Given that it’s July but it feels like October, and ITV2 was showing Love Actually, despite it not being Christmas, it was the perfect wintery dinner.
So yeah, risotto made and enough to serve four and whilst it’s in my nature to cook too much, this time I did it on purpose so I could make arancini. I freaking LOVE arancini – I mean risotto is awesome but frying rice into BALLS? With cheese stuffed in the middle? FOR DINNER? Heaven.
Recipe below – I served it with sticky ribs that weren’t that nice, but I’ll work on that marinade and cooking time recipe and share it when it’s better.
to make the risotto
- 200g risotto rice (I used arborio)
- 500ml stock (you may need more or less than this – all depends on your rice and other bits)- my stock was a mix of the water I used to soak the dried porcini and chicken stock as that was all I had. Keep this at a simmer on a burner, it’ll need to be warm as you add it to the rice.
- 200g mixed types of mushroom (I used portabello, oyster and shitake)
- 10g porcini, rehydrated according to packet instructions and then chopped with the other ‘shrooms
- 1 bag of spinach, lightly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
- I shallot, finely minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 10g butter
- 40-50g parmesan
- Fresh basil leaves, torn (about 5g)
Heat the olive oil and lightly fry the garlic and shallot until softened, add the mushrooms, give the whole thing a little stir to stop it from sticking. Cook down for a few minutes, till the mushrooms start to give off liquid, then add the rice to the pan, stirring once to coat it in the garlicky mushroomy mix and then ladle on a ladle full of hot stock. Stir continuously until the stock is all absorbed by the rice, then add another ladleful of stock and repeat until your rice is cooked. Stirring gives the risotto that lovely gooey finish so don’t skimp on the stirring. It’s relaxing. When the rice is cooked, add in a knob of butter, the spinach, the grated parmesan and the salt and pepper and give the whole thing a little stir so the spinach gets beautifully wilted. Throw the basil in at the end for flavour.
With the leftovers, put them in the fridge, covered, overnight.
In the morning (assuming you’re having arancini for dinner) take the leftover risotto out of the fridge along with about 100g of mozzarella or other soft melty cheese. Rip the mozzarella into tiny chunks and put to one side. Take a small handful (like golfball sized) risotto and flatten it out onto your palm – put a chunk of cheese into the middle and then bring the rice back on itself, rolling to make it even and the cheese well hidden in the middle. Repeat till you’ve used all the rice – I ended up with 9 balls. Put this back in the fridge and leave to chill for a couple of hours.
Next up is pane-ing the balls – so egging and breadcrumbing the outside so they become all delicious when fried. Beat a couple of eggs, grab a packet of panko breadcrumbs, dip the rice into the eggs first, then roll in breadcrumbs and leave to one side. I did two pane layers, (eggs – breadcrumbs – eggs – breadcrumbs) which made it extra crunchy. Up to you though, I had time to kill, you may have better things to do with your life. Put these back in the fridge for at least an hour.
Then you’re ready to cook. I shallow fried these, being absolutely petrified of pans of hot boiling oil and refusing to buy a deep fat frier for the sake of my arteries and how much I’d love it. I heated about 150ml of oil in a pan (I would have used just veg or sunflower oil but I didn’t have any so instead used EVOO – middle class twat that I am). Fry on all sides for a couple of minutes per side until they’re golden brown all over, then put on kitchen roll to drain.
Serve with some kind of sauce – I imagine a tomato sauce would be ace with this (I didn’t make one so simply dipped into sriracha, because as we know, sriracha goes with everything)