Italian Cooking Together – Arancini – Pork Cacciatore – Brownies

Mushroom & Goats Cheese Arancini

For the perfect arancini make extra portions of a risotto , allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.  This is a great recipe for mushroom risotto 

Risotto Recipe

Ingredients – Serves 1, scale up accordingly
  • – ½ pack shimegi mushrooms
  • – 3 chestnut mushrooms 
  • – 2 shiitake mushrooms 
  • – 30g mascarpone 
  • – 30g butter 
  • – 75g Risotto rice (Arborio)
  • – 75ml white wine
  • – 100ml veg stock
  • – 20g parsley
  • – 1 shallot
  • – 1 stick celery 
  • – 1 clove garlic 
 
  • Method:
  • Halve the mushrooms
  • Fine dice all veg as small as possible
  • Heat butter in a pan large enough to construct your dish in…as the butter starts to foam, cook mushrooms in burnt butter and remove from heat on to a plate for later
  • Cook the veg in the same pan with no colour and add rice, cook for a further 2 minutes
  • Add wine and cook until all liquid has gone
  • Add half the stock and continue to cook until the rice nearly cooked on a low heat
  • Add the remaining stock and simmer
  • Add mascarpone, remaining butter and mushrooms back to the pan
  • Take off heat season and add chopped parsley
  • Serve with a shaving of Parmesan or fresh truffle 

To make the arancini

If you have a left over risotto as above, you really only need the basic ingredients of:
  • – 1 egg
  • – Bowl of plain flour
  • – Bowl of breadcrumbs
  • – Vegetable oil for frying
  • – We are going to stuff ours with some goats cheese.
If you are making fresh rice, use risotto rice – cook as per instructions on the pack and cool thoroughly before rolling.  You should add herbs and maybe some lemon zest – it’s a good trick to stuff the middle with a torn peice of mozzerella to give a gooey texture.

Method

  1. Form a rough ball out of risotto rice, about 3cm big.  If you are really trying to impress, weigh the chilled risotto so you can have identically sized balls.
  2.  
  3. Flatten the ball, stuff with a small cube of goats cheese, reshape into a ball again, neater this time, carry on with the rest of the rice.
  4.  
  5. Get  3 separate mixing bowls or trays ready, place flour in the first, beaten egg in the second and breadcrumbs in third.
  6.  
  7. Dip your risotto balls in the same order, coating the arancini without any uncoated patches.

If you have a deep fryer, this is great use to cook evenly all the way round – using a pan, we would recommend only using enough oil to cover half the ball.  Never fill a pan with more than 1/3 oil.

  1. Heat up enough oil to cover arancini halfway on medium-high heat and fry until golden.
  2.  
  3. If you made larger balls of rice you might need to place them through the oven on 180C for 5 minutes to melt the cheese in the centre.

Balsamic Salsa

Ingredients – Serves 4:

  • – 500g ripen tomatoes
  • – 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • – 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • – 1 tbsp balsamic
  • – 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • – 1 small red onion, diced
  • – ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • – ¼ cup chopped mint
 

Method:

  1. Place oil, garlic and vinegar in a bowl.
  2.  
  3. Add tomatoes, onion and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4.  
  5. Stand for at least 10 minutes.
 

Herb Pesto

Ingredients – Serves 4:

  • – 1 clove of garlic
  • – 1/2 big bunch of fresh basil
  • – Handful of chives
  • – Handful of coriander
  • – 1 handful of pine nuts
  • – 1 good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • – extra virgin olive oil
  • – 1 lemon
 

Method:

  1. Peel the garlic, then pound in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of sea salt.
  2.  
  3. Pick, roughly chop and add the basil, followed by coriander and chives, then blend in a food processor.
  4.  
  5. Add the pine nuts (very lightly toast first, if you like) to the mixture and blend again, same with the parmesan.
  6.  
  7. Drizzle in some oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.
  8.  
  9. Add most of the remaining cheese, then season to perfection with salt and black pepper. Have a taste and keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency.
  10.  
  11. Add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Pork Cacciatore

This recipe can also be made using chicken thighs, boneless or for best flavour, use the full thing with skin and bone –  

Ingredients – Serves 2:

  • – 1 small pork tenderloin, trimmed of any fat or membrane.  Cut into slices about 2cm thick
  • – 1 shallot, diced
  • – 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • – 1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
  • – 400g chopped tomatoes
  • – Handful of fresh cherry tomatoes
  • – Handful of olives of your choice
  • – 2tbsp of capers
  • – 100ml of red wine
  • – 1 tsp of sugar
  • – 2 sprigs of thyme
  • – 6 basil leaves
  • – 1 bulb of mozzarella, shred into pieces
  • – 1tbsp of olive oil
  • – Seasoning
 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 185C.
  2.  
  3. Place a heavy skillet on medium heat with a splash of oil.
  4.  
  5. Season pork with salt and pepper and sear of in the pan, remove from the pan and leave on side for now (pork doesn’t need to be cooked through yet).
  6.  
  7. Add another splash of oil in the same pan and sauté onions for a couple of minutes, followed by garlic.
  8.  
  9. Next comes the red pepper, cook for another minute.
  10.  
  11. Now pour in the red wine with sugar and reduce by half, followed by cherry tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, capers, chopped thyme and olives. Simmer for ten minutes, correct seasoning, place the chicken on top and bake for roughly 10-15 minutes, if using chicken please check it is cooked through.
  12.  
  13. Right before serving, place mozzarella on top and melt in the oven.
  14.  
  15. Garnish with chopped basil leaves.
 

Food Sorcery Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients – Makes: 24 brownies

  • – ¾ cup (180g) unsalted butter
  • – 8oz (250g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • – 4 large eggs
  • – 1 ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • – ½ cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • – ¼ tsp salt
  • – 1 ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • – 1 cup (150g) plain flour
  • – 8 oz (250g) milk chocolate, coarsely chopped.

 

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C gas 4 )
  2.  
  3. Butter and flour a 9x 13 inch (33 x 22 cm) baking pan.
  4.  
  5. Line with foil leaving pieces to foil overhanging the sides.
  6.  
  7. Place the butter and dark chocolate in a double boiler and stir over barely simmering water until melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  8.  
  9. Beat the eggs and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy, then with the mixer on low speed, beat in the salt and chocolate mixture, followed by the vanilla.
  10.  
  11. Gradually beat in the flour, stir in the milk chocolate and then spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  12.  
  13. Bake until the brownies are set in the middle, 25-30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the centre will come out slightly gooey.
  14.  
  15. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then use the overhanging foil to lift the brownies out of the pan.
  16.  
  17. Remove the foil and place on a cutting board. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 mins before cutting.

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