Diane, A Broad
October 9, 2012

Mushroom Arancini with Bacon Brown Sugar Compote

I don’t know if you can tell, but I get really excited about food. It’s not just the end product, the delicious thing I get to put in my mouth that does so much more than just nourish my body. It’s the process, too, the learning and doing and standing in the kitchen, working with my hands, listening to things sizzle and pop, my glasses steaming up as I open the oven door.

I had some amazing kale and taleggio arancini during the kale party at Verjus a couple of weeks ago, and they were stellar. Perfectly prepared balls of rice and cheese and vegetal kale, deep-fried to a golden brown and served with a salty-sweet bacon compote. It’s a dish that makes sense — you know by reading the description that there’s no way that this could be bad, and chef Braden Perkins didn’t disappoint.

The plate cost €8, a steal for such high-caliber food. And yet, and still. There was something missing. I didn’t make it myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out, and I know my skill in the kitchen can’t match a trained chef’s, but… but what? I guess I miss the challenge. How extremely clever I feel whenever a dish turns out just how I wanted it to. I wanted to be the one whipping out those perfect arancini with that sticky, perfectly paired sauce. So I came home and made some.

And yes, I felt extremely clever.

Arancini

Inspired by the kale arancini at Verjus.

Makes 10-12 arancini.

Ingredients
2 cups leftover mushroom risotto or any other leftover risotto, cold
10-12 approximately 1cm pieces of mozzarella
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups bread crumbs
oil for frying

Directions

Scoop a golf ball-sized amount of the leftover risotto onto clean hands. Flatten the risotto into a disc, then press a piece of mozzarella into the center. Form a ball out of the risotto around the piece of mozzarella and set aside. Repeat with the rest of your risotto and mozzarella.

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a small bowl and set up another bowl with the bread crumbs. Dip each risotto ball into the egg mixture, followed by the bread crumbs, making sure that each one is completely coated with crumbs. Set aside until ready to fry.

Pour enough oil into a heavy saucepan to reach a depth of at least 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until it is 350°F, or until a cube of bread tossed into the oil begins to bubble and brown immediately.

Working in batches, add a couple of rice balls to the hot oil at a time and cook until the bread crumbs are brown and the rice balls are completely heated through. Remove the arancini with a slotted spoon or spider to drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Bacon Brown Sugar Compote.

Notes

I wanted to do try making these the traditional way, so I deep fried them the first time. However, if you want a lighter option (or just don’t want to use up as much oil as deep frying requires), you can bake these in the oven instead. Heat your oven to 375°F (190°C), line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place your breaded arancini on the parchment. Spray heavily with olive oil or cooking spray and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the arancini are hot all the way through and the bread crumbs are golden brown.

Cooked arancini can be kept in a very low oven for up to 20 minutes to keep them hot before serving. Be careful, though, as they will start to leak mozzarella if the oven is too hot or if you keep them in there too long.

You can make these ahead of time by completing the directions up to the breading step, then refrigerating or freezing the arancini until you intend to cook them. Thaw completely before cooking.

Bacon Brown Sugar Compote

Inspired by the bacon shallot balsamic jam at Verjus.

Makes about 1/4 cup.

Ingredients
1/4 cup bacon, cut into lardons
2 teaspoons balsamic reduction
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons caramelized onions
2 tablespoons water

Directions

Place the bacon lardons in a small saucepan. Turn the heat on to low and begin to cook the bacon until some of the fat has been rendered, but the bacon is not yet fully cooked or crispy. Drain about half the fat from the bacon and add the rest of the ingredients. Continue to cook on low for about 30 minutes, adding a spoonful or two of water as necessary if the mixture looks too dry and starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. The compote is done when it has a preserve-like texture. Serve on top of arancini.

Music to cook by: Lose Your Soul [Dead Man's Bones // Dead Man's Bones]

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  • cookparadise

    Olala comme j’adore cette spécialité made in Italie, excellentissimo :)
    Agréable soirée
    Valérie.

  • Narelle

    Hi Dianne, fellow Parisian here and fellow cook-a-holic. I’ve just discovered your blog by chance and if you keep this up you are on your way to making a cookbook! Especially after the latest post. And I’d surely buy the book! Congratulations on the excellent writting and excellent photography. Narelle

    • http://dianeabroad.com Diane, A Broad

      Thanks Narelle! I’m certainly no professional, but I do like having a collection of meals I’ve made that turned out well. Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://twitter.com/TheBeeroness The Beeroness (@TheBeeroness)

    Oh my GOD. This looks amazing. I have the same feeling when I love something at a restaurant, I just want to force my way into the kitchen and watch how they did it.
    I’m pinning this right now. Gorgeous.

    • http://dianeabroad.com Diane, A Broad

      Thank goodness, I’m not the only one!

  • http://blondexambition.wordpress.com Katie @ Blonde Ambition

    This sounds like the ultimate comfort food! But that compote……whoa.

    • http://dianeabroad.com Diane, A Broad

      It’s like… high-class fried mac and cheese?

  • http://vyvacious.wordpress.com vyvacious

    Heck yes! I have yet to actually eat arancini but I’m hoping to try some soon on my trip to Orlando. Do you ever feel like you need to taste/feel the texture of a certain type of dish before you make it? I always feel like just reading a description of it online won’t justify me making something because I have no idea if what I just made even compares to the real deal.

    • http://dianeabroad.com Diane, A Broad

      Nah, I’m huge on reading about food on the internet and making it. Doesn’t matter to me whether it tasted like whatever I read about, as long as it tastes good!

      • vyvacious

        That’s awesome! I wish I had that talent. I am pushing myself to be a little more experimental in the kitchen though lately!

  • http://lakshmilovestoshop.wordpress.com lakshmilovestoshop

    Mmmm…I love the look of those!

  • http://www.facebook.com/realunhousewife Jaz’min Quary

    That looks so delicious. I just might try this one. I also love your choice of words: ” the delicious thing I get to put in my mouth that does so much more than just nourish my body.” so seductive. :)

    • http://dianeabroad.com Diane, A Broad

      I think you only thought that sounded dirty because you know me in real life. ;) Welcome to WordPress!

  • http://www.orgasmicchef.com Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    This looks SO good. I used to love making mushroom risotto, all creamy, cheesy goodness. Now I make it so I can have leftovers for arancini. Yours are beautiful.

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  • http://chocolatespoonandthecamera.wordpress.com/ Cosmo

    great recipe and pics!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kirios.omega Kirios Omega

    Immaginando che siate italiani d’origine vi regalo una ricetta che
    riscuote un certo successo nel mio numeroso parentado- ARANCINO A MODO
    MIO-

    Bollire un riso bianco di qualità BALILLA (balilla) e
    lasciandolo raffreddare tutta la notte in maniera che divenga ben
    asciutto gli avrete prima aggiunto una quantità conveniente di un brendi
    stravecchio italiano, o grappa alla ruta, o maraschino, o millefiori
    Cucchi, potreste anche usare il doppio kummel, ma non a tutti piace
    l’odore dell’anice.
    Preparazione- Battete le uova nella quantità che
    ritenete possano servirvi. Preparate un trito di mandorle tostate,
    spellate e non troppo finemente schiacciatele. Aggiungete frutta candita
    a pezzettini, codette di cioccolata, farina di castagne qualche goccia
    dei liquori già sopra detti. Incorporate un tocchetto di burro e
    chiudete l’arancino con dell’altro riso. Passatelo nell’uovo, nel pan
    grattato e friggetelo preferibilmente in olio d’oliva extravergine
    siciliano della zona di Barrafranca (Enna)! Potreste anche mischiare al
    50% olio e sugna di maiale, ma il preparato risulta più scuro e troppo
    ricco in grassi. Friggetene pochi per volta, e prima che si freddino
    cospargeteli con granella di zucchero o con zucchero grezzo di canna.
    Oppure fate colare sugli arancini del miele di castagno diluito con un
    pò d’acqua calda e qualche goccia di limone. Serviteli preferibilmente
    caldi. Se li proverete fatemi sapere!

    Variante natalizia-
    Ricoprite gli arancini con albumi montati a neve ben ferma, io uso gr
    100 di zucchero per ogni albume. Immergete gli arancini nella parte alta
    e teneteli in forno appena tiepido a 80° sino a che si sarà formata una
    meringa!kiriosomega