Italian

Mushroom Arancini

They may look fancy but arancini are actually super easy to make. A basic risotto and a savory mushroom filling rolled into balls and fried with a crispy breadcrumb coating. Totally vegan/vegetarian but everyone will enjoy them!

Risotto is one of my all-time favorite vegetarian dishes. It’s strange because I never had it until I moved away from home and started cooking for myself. My mother refused to make risotto saying that you have to stand over it for so long. Not really, maybe 20 minutes max. Artichoke and sun-dried tomato risotto was one of the first vegetarian dishes that I added to my repertoire when I officially became an “adult” and I’ve been using it to impress for the last 15 years. I do believe that it’s one of the reasons that my husband married me and it’s still one of our favorites. Little did I know that risotto has so many different uses.

Last week I watched Restaurant Startup and the whole concept of the restaurant centred around arancini – or fried risotto balls. Needless to say the whole episode was full of lame ball jokes, but it did open my eyes to the possible varieties of filling that arancini could have. I had previously thought that arancini was basically with a cheese and/or meat filling, but surprisingly they served an option with broccolini. That got me doing some research and trying this version of mixed-mushroom aranchini.

They may look fancy but arancini are actually super easy to make. A basic risotto and a savory mushroom filling rolled into balls and fried with a crispy breadcrumb coating. Totally vegan/vegetarian but everyone will enjoy them!

Turns out that although they may look fancy, they’re actually really easy. Even more so if you make risotto the night before and keep and bit extra for the arancini. Then it’s just a question of frying up some onions and mushrooms with a few spices and forming the balls. I would imagine that the bigger your hands, the easier it is to form the balls. Mine are freakishly small so I did struggle a bit with that step. But if you’ve got normal-sized hands then this is a quick lunch or dinner you can do in about 45 minutes. And you never know, maybe someone will marry you.

Mushroom Arancini

Mushroom Arancini

Yield: Makes 6 - 8 big balls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

A vegan version of arancini with mushrooms.

Ingredients

For the risotto

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Half and onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3/4 cup arborio or sushi rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the mushroom filling

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 of a white onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 200 grams mixed Asian or wild mushrooms, or oyster mushrooms, or button mushrooms (whatever you have)
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons from the jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the arancini

  • Breadcrumbs, either regular or panko
  • Oil for deep frying
  • A jar of your favorite tomato pasta sauce

Instructions

    For the risotto

    1. Mix together the vegetable stock, white wine and water in a pot over low heat.
    2. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the oil and onion. Once transparent, add the garlic. When the garlic is fragrant, add the rice and fry until slightly browned and crackling.
    3. Add one ladle of the stock/wine mixture to the rice and stir continuously until absorbed. Add the herbs and continue adding the liquid one ladleful at a time while continuously stirring. Once you have used all the liquid you should have creamy rice that is still firm on the inside. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    4. Set aside to cool completely or put it in the fridge.

    For the mushroom filling

    1. Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sweat until translucent, then add the garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and herbs and fry until they begin to sweat. Add a pinch of salt and continue frying until soft. Add the flour and cook out, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until evaporated. Add the tomato sauce and stock and simmer until the mushrooms are totally soft and the sauce is thick. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.

    For the arancini

    1. Once the rice and filling are cool, form the balls by squeezing a small handful of rice together in the palm of your hand and making a dent in the centre for the filling. Fill with one to two tablespoons of the mushroom filling and close the rice around. You may need to add more rice on top to enclose the filling completely and form a ball.
    2. Heat enough oil in a pot over medium-high heat to be able to fry at least half of the ball.
    3. Roll the balls in breadcrumbs or panko and drop as many as will fit into your heated oil. Fry until golden brown and then roll over until all sides are fried and crispy. Remove onto a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Serve warm or cold with your favorite tomato sauce for dipping.
    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 8 Serving Size: Per ball
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 786mg Carbohydrates: 36g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 6g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 7g

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