Arancini with asparagus, porcini mushroom veloute, parmesan & truffle oil

Asparagus is one of those special ingredients that really marks out a distinct season in the culinary year, and I always look forward to eating it throughout late spring and early summer. In this dish I match it up with crispy fried risotto balls (arancini), smooth creamy mushroom sauce & tangy parmesan cheese for a really delicious main course or you could serve a small portion as an impressive starter.

 

Ingredients for 4 portions

For the risotto

125g Shallots, finely diced

50ml Olive oil

3 Garlic cloves, crushed & chopped

200ml Dry white wine

240g Arborio rice

Bay leaf & thyme

500ml Vegetable stock, hot

80g Parmesan grated

50g Butter

Salt & pepper to your taste

For the wild mushroom veloute

25g Dried porcini mushrooms

200ml Vegetable stock, hot

50g Shallots finely diced

1 Garlic clove, crushed & chopped

25g Butter

200ml Dry white wine

Bay leaf & thyme

200ml Double cream

For making the arancini

Dried breadcrumbs

A whole egg beaten with a little milk

Plain flour

Oil for deep frying

 

What to do:

Risotto

Sweat the shallots in the olive oil until softening, add the garlic, rice, bay & thyme. Stir for a minute before adding first the wine and then a ladle of stock. Continue to stir until the stock has been absorbed before adding in another ladle-full. Repeat until you have incorporated all the stock. The rice grains should be cooked through and not too chalky in the mouth but still have a good bite – ‘Al Dente’. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter & cheese. Taste and season with salt & black pepper. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stalks. Allow to cool. Refrigerate if preparing in advance.

Porcini mushroom veloute

First soak the dried mushrooms in the warm stock. Sweat the shallots in the butter until softening, add the garlic, bay & thyme. Add in the white wine, mushrooms and their soaking liquor. Bring to a boil then simmer until the liquid has reduced by 4/5ths, approximately 15-20 minutes. Add the double cream and return to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the bay and thyme stalks before blending everything very well with a stick blender or even better a smoothie maker until you have a really smooth creamy sauce. Taste and season with salt & black pepper before passing it through a fine chinois sieve.

Breadcrumbing the arancini balls

Shape the cooled risotto into 65g balls, using a weighing scale to check they are all the same size. First roll them in the flour dusting off any excess, before dipping them in the egg wash. Again, take care to let excess egg drip off before rolling in the breadcrumbs.

To finish the dish

Deep fry the arancini in good clean vegetable oil at 170c until golden and crispy on the outside and hot through. Allow to drain on kitchen paper. Meanwhile warm your mushroom sauce and cook the asparagus spears under a hot grill drizzled with a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Serve with generous shavings of parmesan and a drizzle of truffle infused olive oil to give it a special touch.