Who doesn’t like surprises? Certainly not me if they come along with bad news. But what about a cheesy and buttery surprise that will make your belly sing? Why yes, please!
Well this is what I did for one of my greatest friends as she was moving to the big city and I really wanted to do something special for her going away party. I took her favorite dish, dipped it in egg, rolled it in breadcrumbs and fried it! Isn’t that what good friends do? Deep fry your favorite dish to make things better?
From all the things I ever cooked, my mushroom and brie risotto was Michelle’s favorite so I really wanted to make it for her before she would move away. But this is the kind of dish that I just don’t know how to make a big batch of so it was a no no for the party. Instead, what I decided to do was to get creative and come up with something she will never forget. So I made Arancinis (Italian rice balls) filled with a gooey surprise of mushroom and brie cheese. These little golden balls had all the elements of her favorite dish but with a crispy outer shell.
Coming up with this idea was as much fun to me as if I was receiving the surprise myself. I was sad that my friend was leaving but knowing that I was certain she would enjoy my risotto balls creation made me feel thankful for the years of friendship we have shared. I realized right there that I had no regrets, we had been friends for over 9 years and all I have are good memories. I had been there for her, comforted her, laughed with her, encouraged her, cooked for her and cried with her. Even though we did have moments of disagreement (one time we stopped talking to each other for a month) I felt like having been good friends made each other’s lives so much better, and this would had not have happened if we would not have invested the time in our friendship. Do you have friends that you really cherish? Have you taken the time to really get to know a friend?
With this I want to encourage you to build new friendships, nurture the ones you already have and grow with each other. Take time to listen, learn, do something special, apologize, remember details, call and be there, compliment, say thank you, I love you and I am sorry. As adults we forget these things somehow and we tend to put up walls, stay distant and come up with excuses why we don’t have time for fellowship. But everyone needs a friend and you never know how much you can bless someone with your friendship.
And now back to a the buttery brie and sauteed mushrooms surprise!
Before you start, my recommendation is for you to get the assembly line ready placing bowls next to each other.
A helpful tip is to use damp hands to form the balls. Make them in advance and once you have all the balls formed, use one hand for dipping thems in eggs and the other hand for rolling them in breadcrumbs. This will allow for a less messy and more easy breezy ball dipping and rolling.
Doesn’t this look awesome? Its crunchy and creamy all at the same time. I served them with a white truffle aioli but you can use any dipping sauce.
So, now you know what to do with day-old rice, mix it with cheese, eggs and deep fry it. And remember to make it extra especial by filling it with a cheesy surprise.
Mushroom and Brie Stuffed Arancini (Italian rice balls) – yields 20 rice balls
2 cups cooked white rice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup dried bread crumbs
Sauteed mushroom (20 slices)
20 pieces of brie cheese
Oil for frying
Combine cooked rice, Parmesan cheese and 2 eggs. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
Take a small amount of the mixture into your hand, make a dent and place a slice of mushroom and a piece of brie cheese in the center.
Fold to form about 1 inch in diameter balls. You will get approximately 15 to 20 balls (depends on the size)
Once balls are formed, use one hand to roll them into the remaining beaten eggs and the other hand for coating them with breadcrumbs.
Fry in batches with enough oil to cover them. Fry for about 2 minutes until they are golden brown.
- Traditionally Arancini are served with marinara sauce for dipping but you can enjoy them with any dipping sauce of your choice.
- If you would like, you can skip the brie and mushroom and just do a rice and Parmesan rice ball.
- Other veggies and cheeses can be used for the filling. Mozzarella cheese is a great option.