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Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto cakes with melting Mozzarella middles

Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto cakes with melting Mozzarella middles

You can make two meals out of this dish. Have risotto for dinner one night, and then with the leftovers make the risotto cakes. The risotto cakes are a traditional Sicilian dish called arancini, but made a little bit bigger.

  • Serves 4

  • 60 Minutes

  • 3 pans

  • Expert

Suitable for vegetarians



  • 25g packet Merchant Gourmet Dried Porcini Mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100g Arborio risotto rice
  • 1 glass white wine (175ml)
  • 400ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • 100g baby leaf spinach, washed
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated (or Pecorino for a vegetarian alternative)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 ball buffalo mozzarella, Sliced into 8 even pieces
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 100g Merchant Gourmet Polenta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


1.Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiled water to rehydrate

2.Heat a large frying pan or risotto pan and add the chopped onions. Cook on a low heat for 5-8 mins until softened, but colourless. Add the garlic and fry for another minute

3.Stir in the risotto rice and toast for 2 minutes. Pour over the wine. Keep stirring to encourage the starch to come out – this will make the finished risotto really creamy

4.Add the hot stock one ladle at a time. Each time wait until the last lot has been absorbed by the rice. This is quite a slow process and the heat shouldn’t be too high – the liquid needs to be sucked up rather than evaporated off. The rice should end up oozy and a little loose, not swimming in stock. If you run out of stock then use the liquid that the mushrooms have been soaking in. The rice should be al dente and the mixture a little less liquidy than regular risotto

5.Drain the mushrooms and chop them. Stir the mushrooms, spinach, Parmesan and butter into the risotto. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool for at least an hour, ideally overnight

6.Mold the risotto around one of the mozzarella pieces to form a ball. Squash the top and bottom to flatten out and make a small cake. Repeat with the other mozzarella pieces. Leave these in the fridge to set for 30 minutes

7.Coat the balls in egg and breadcrumbs (or Polenta)

8.Heat olive oil in a frying pan and lay the risotto cakes in the oil. Fry for 3 – 4 mins on each side or until golden. Drain on some kitchen paper and serve

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