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Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini over Spinach and Mushroom Salad

24 Jan

Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini with Spinach and Mushroom Salad

This is a simple and easy salad with a really big impact in terms of flavor.  The rich, caramelized mushrooms in both their simple sautéed form and inside of the arancini create a meatiness that contrasts really well with the freshness of the baby spinach and simple lemon juice dressing.  The arancini adds great texture, acting almost as a warm crouton on the outside and a creamy, cheese-y bite on the inside.

This serves either as a lovely light entrée or an excellent starter salad.  By increasing or decreasing the size of the arancini, you can make this more or less filling.  This makes an excellent weeknight meal because it comes together so quickly and uses up leftovers.

Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini over Spinach and Mushroom Salad

1 1/2 cups leftover red wine and mushroom risotto

2 1/8″ thin slices fresh mozzarella

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper

3-4 tbs. canola oil

8 oz. crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced

2  tbs. olive oil

6-8 cups fresh baby spinach

1 lemon, juiced

Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Using your hands, combine risotto and the egg.  Season risotto mixture with salt and pepper.  Take about 1/2 cup of risotto mixture and form into a patty with your hands.  Place mozzarella slice on the patty and press into patty.  Top with another 1/4 cup or so of risotto mixture.  Coat evenly with bread crumbs.  Repeat one time with remaining risotto, cheese, and bread crumbs.

In a frying pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add mushrooms to olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté, stirring frequently, until golden brown, for about 8-10 minutes.

As onions are cooking, add risotto patties to the frying pan with canola oil.  Cook 5-7 minutes per side until deep golden brown and heated through.

As mushrooms and risotto patties are cooking, place spinach greens in a bowl.

Top spinach greens with mushrooms and then arancini.  Top with lemon juice and serve immediately.

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

21 Jan

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

It’s been way, way too long since I’ve posted.  First it was finals, then a new kitten (check after the jump for super adorable kitten pics) and the holidays and moot court brief writing, then we went on our belated honeymoon to Toronto, then it was a mad rush to finish our brief, and then classes started and I went back to work and we started oral argument practice for moot court … basically, life happened.  And unlike my usual “life happened” scenario, this one did not involve cooking.  Zak took the reins in the kitchen because I was often home late or eating at one of the few options around school as my teammates and I were locked in the moot court room brief writing until midnight or later (basically, a lot of Subway and a couple times of treating ourselves to pizza and salad or burgers when the thought of another six inch sub made us want to cry).  I actually made this a week or so ago, because risotto is perfect to make when you want something mindless but wonderfully satisfying.  I stood by the stove, reading other competitor’s briefs and stirring, stirring, stirring until the risotto was as creamy as could be, then added some mushrooms and … yum.  A nice bowl of simple comfort food, with a hint of red wine flavor lurking behind the umami of the mushrooms and herbiness of tarragon and rosemary.

Normally, I am not quite as fastidious about stirring when I make risotto as I was this time, and in retrospect I regret it.  This was absolutely divine because it was super, super creamy.  Since I have no shame, I will admit to you that I actually licked my bowl.

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

1 1/2 cups red wine

4 cups water

1 cup tarragon, on the stem

2-3 sprigs rosemary, on the stem

4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

Salt and pepper

1 cup arborio rice

2-3 tbs. olive oil

8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced

2 tbs. butter

Parmesan cheese, to taste

In a medium sauce pan, combine red wine, tarragon, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce heat to a simmer.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once shimmering, add arborio rice.  Cook, stirring frequently, until rice is opaque.  Reduce heat to low.

1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, add in red wine and herb mixture.  Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until liquid is nearly absorbed.  Repeat, stirring continuously or very frequently, for about 30-45 minutes, until rice is creamy and nearly cooked through.

In a medium sauté pan, add butter.  Melt over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Pour, with any excess liquid, into the risotto.  Stir to combine, and continue cooking risotto by adding liquid and stirring, until rice is cooked through.

Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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Mushroom and Roasted Broccoli Risotto

13 Nov

Sorry for the prolonged absence, ladies and gentleman.  School is really kicking my ass right now, and it’s about to get worse.  Having evening classes three days a week has really detracted from cooking new and fun things to share with you all.  Zak has been a beast in the kitchen, making everything from his own spin on mujaddara to a whole grilled mackerel.  Last night, after coming home in the freezing rain from grocery shopping, I just wanted to crack open a beer and do something in the kitchen.  Risotto is perfect for those evenings – it takes a lot of attention, but it’s totally mindless attention.  I pulled up the current chapter of (my second read through of) Game of Thrones, preheated the oven, put some stock on to simmer, and spent the next forty five minutes reading, stirring, ladling, and over all unwinding.

The pay off was huge.  Comforting, creamy, flavorful risotto is the perfect fall or winter meal.  It’s filling and can be gussied up with any vegetables or add-ins you choose.  The caramelized broccoli worked beautifully with the sharp cheddar cheese and rich, unctuous homemade beef stock.  It also reheats really well, either on the stove top (add a few extra tablespoons of stock or water) or in the microwave.

Mushroom and Roasted Broccoli Risotto

8 cups homemade beef stock

1 large sprig fresh tarragon

2 tbs. butter, divided

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

2 cups arborio rice

1/4 cup dry vermouth

1/4 cup milk

1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

3 tbs. olive oil

1 head broccoli, chopped into florets, stalks discarded (about 2 cups florets)

 Preheat oven to 400°.

In a medium stock pot, bring beef stock and tarragon sprig to a simmer.  Cover and reduce heat to low to maintain a simmer.

In a large, shallow sauté pan, melt 1 tbs. butter over medium heat.  Add onion season with salt.  Cook until translucent, stirring a couple times to ensure even cooking.  Add mushroom and season with a bit more salt.  Cook until slightly golden brown.

Using a wooden spoon, push all the vegetables to one side of the pan.  Add arborio rice and toast 1-3 minutes until just starting to turn opaque.  Mix together the vegetables and rice, and deglaze the pan with vermouth.  Cook over medium heat until vermouth is mostly evaporated.

Add one ladle (about 3/4 cup) of beef stock.  Stir vigorously.  Stirring almost continuously, allowing thirty second breaks every now and again, until beef stock is mostly absorbed.  Add another ladle of stock, and continue to stir.

On one of your short breaks in stirring in the first few rounds, toss broccoli florets with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a tinfoil lined baked sheet.

Transfer to oven and bake 20-25 minutes until cooked through and caramelized.  If the risotto isn’t done, reduce oven to warm or lowest heat setting to keep warm.

Continue to repeat process of adding stock and stirring the risotto.  The risotto should be expanding and starch should be coming off the grains, making the mixture seem creamy.  After about 45 minutes, when risotto is creamy and last stock is almost totally absorbed, add remaining tbs. of butter.  Stir to combine.  Add milk and stir to combine.  Stir continuously about one minute, until milk begins to evaporate.  Let simmer untouched a minute or so before continuing to stir another minute or two.  Once milk is about half evaporated, add cheese and stir to combine.

Serve in a bowl, topped with a handful of broccoli florets.

Mushroom Barley Risotto

11 Jul

On the Fourth of July, we attended a lamb roast/pot luck at the dock slip of a family friend.  While the lamb was absolutely killer and a very special treat because it’s not something I get to eat very often, one of my favorite bites of the day was a mushroom and barley dish.  I didn’t find the awesome cook who whipped it up to ask for the recipe, but both Zak and I thought it had some risotto-like characteristics, so I decided to make a knock off the very next day (yes, it really was that damn good).

While this version wasn’t really a replica of what we had previously eaten, it was delicious in its own right.  This could also very easily be made vegetarian by using a darker vegetable stock, but I love the unctuousness of a true meat-based bone broth.  The mushroom flavor permeated the barley in a really special way due to cooking it risotto-style, and the mushrooms added a hearty meatiness that made this dish filling enough to act as a main course.  Zak commented that the flavors here would also make a great soup, which was totally true – next time, I plan to add a few cups of stock to the recipe and then simply serve it without reducing the last batch added to make for a hearty mushroom and barley soup.

Mushroom Barley Risotto

Adapted from Epicurious

4 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock

1 cup pearl barley

1 1/2 tbs. butter, divided

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tbs. olive oil

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced (portobello and crimini)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup red wine, such as pinot noir

Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium, cover, and maintain a simmer.

Melt 1 tbs. butter in a large sauté pan.  Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5-6 minutes.  Add barley, thyme, bay leaf and 2 cups stock; bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until most of stock is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 6-8.  Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until barley is tender, about 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in another large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté until beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Raise heat to medium high and deglaze the pan with red wine.  Add 1/2 tbs. butter and stir to combine.  Let wine reduce by 2/3.  Transfer to barley mixture directly after adding last half cup of stock.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon risotto into bowls and serve immediately.

Beet and Goat Cheese Arancini

14 Mar

I always have a tough time judging exactly how many servings a risotto recipe is going to make, because the rice expands so much while it’s being slowly simmered and stirred in fragrant broth.  I’ve made it enough times (and recorded my recipes since I, you know, write a food blog) that I should know, but I often have small amounts of leftovers and I can never remember how much.  I don’t have an awesome memory.  I intentionally made a little bit too much this time, though, because I was craving some arancini – balls or patties of risotto coated in bread crumbs and fried.

You can serve these cheesy, crunchy, creamy patties of pan-fried beet, risotto, and goat cheese goodness in one of two ways.  As-is, perhaps with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt for serving, or as a burger patty, topped with whatever you want (Zak used some avocado and plain Greek yogurt).  Either way, they are colorful, flavorful, and relatively healthy.  They make for a yummy appetizer in their naked form and a hearty sandwich swaddled in a bun.

Just a warning – these are a tad messy to make, so if you have some gloves, I suggest you wear them.  Otherwise, your hands will likely end up stained a pretty gruesome shade of red.

Beet and Goat Cheese Arancini

2 1/2 cups leftover roasted beet risotto (let sit at least overnight)

2 eggs, beaten, divided

3-4 tbs. goat cheese

3-4 slices whole wheat bread (yield about 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

2 tsp. canola

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tbs. canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a food processor, combine slices of bread, garlic powder, parsley, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.  Pulse until bread crumbs are formed.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine risotto, and 1 egg, beaten.  Mix together thoroughly.  Form into patties roughly 3 inches across and 1 inch thick (about 1/4 cup of risotto).  Using your thumb, create a deep indentation in the middle of each patty, spooning about 1 tsp. of goat cheese into each indentation. Top the goat cheese with another 1 tbs. or so of leftover risotto/egg mixture.

Place flour in a shallow dish.  Place remaining beaten egg in a second shallow dish.  Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish.  Coat each patty with flour, followed by egg, followed by bread crumbs.

Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Pan fry risotto patties until deep golden brown and cheese is warmed through, roughly 4-5 minutes per side.

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