Cau­li­flower Cheese and Thyme Arancini

Dish - - Recipes -

I have been mak­ing dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of arancini for many years now and this flavour com­bi­na­tion is one of my favourites. No-one can re­sist the ooz­ing cheesy cen­tre and when served with aioli on fresh thyme they look pretty as a pic­ture.

41/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

½ cup cream

1 head cau­li­flower, chopped into very small flo­rets

sea salt and freshly ground black pep­per

¼ tea­spoon freshly grated nut­meg

25 grams but­ter 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 cup risotto rice

¼ cup white wine

1 ta­ble­spoon finely chopped thyme

½ cup grated parme­san

225 grams brie or ta­leg­gio, chilled in the freezer for a ½ hour, then chopped into 1cm cubes

4 cups bread­crumbs 3 eggs, lightly whisked

4 cups high smoke-point cook­ing oil

thyme sprigs, to garnish good-qual­ity aioli, to serve

Heat ½ cup stock and the cream in a large deep fry­ing pan, whisk­ing to com­bine. Add the cau­li­flower, sea­son with salt, pep­per and nut­meg, then half cover with a lid and cook for 15 min­utes. Re­move the lid and cook for an­other 10 min­utes or un­til the cau­li­flower is ten­der and most of the liq­uid is ab­sorbed.

Heat the re­main­ing stock in a mi­crowave or in a saucepan over a low heat.

Melt the but­ter and oil to­gether in a large heavy-based pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook over a gen­tle heat for 10 min­utes un­til the onion is soft­ened but not coloured.

Add the rice and cook for two min­utes, then add the wine and thyme, stir and cook an­other two min­utes. Add the stock, half a cup at a time, stir­ring well and ad­ding more stock as it be­comes ab­sorbed. This process will take about 20 min­utes. The rice should be just soft, not mushy.

Add the parme­san and stir to melt through, then add the cau­li­flower and stir to com­bine. Re­frig­er­ate un­til chilled.

Tak­ing ta­ble­spoons­ful of the rice mix­ture at a time, poke a cube of brie into the mid­dle of each and roll into a soft ball. Roll each ball in bread­crumbs and place on a bak­ing pa­per-lined tray.

Chill for 10 min­utes, then dip each ball in the whisked egg and in the bread­crumbs for a sec­ond time. Chill again for at least an hour or overnight.

Heat the oil in a saucepan un­til a cube of bread dropped in be­comes golden and rises to the sur­face in about 20 sec­onds. Cook the balls in batches of about 6 at a time, for about 1–2 min­utes, un­til golden and heated through. Drain arancini on pa­per tow­els and serve on a bed of thyme, with aioli on the side. Makes about 45

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