Rice Balls from Rino's Kitchen

Tonight on CTV Windsor, we brought in Winter Bites Restaurant Week participant, Rino’s Kitchen, to cook up one of the menu items to be offered: Mushroom Fried Rice Balls.

This menu is a two parter. One for the mushroom risotto and one for the rice balls.

Mushroom Risotto

Yield – 5 orders

  • 1lb Arborio rice
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 small package (250g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 ½ -2 L of chicken stock – use veg broth if you want to make this veg friendly
  • 2-3 lbs of assorted mushrooms – shitake, oyster, portabello, cremini – your favourites
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 large onion diced small
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup grated parmesan

I first tasted risotto in Italy when my uncle made us Risotto alla Milanese, a classic northern Italian dish that when made properly is divine. I have since made this dish hundreds, if not thousands of times. It’s one of my go to dishes when I get my hands on some great fresh mushrooms. There’s something about the creaminess and texture of risotto that seems to work so well with mushrooms.

This is the type of recipe that dirties a lot of pots and pans. Have someone come for dinner in exchange for washing the dishes.

You will have a few different things going on at the same time. Begin by heating the chicken broth in a stock pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover the porcini mushrooms with some warm broth. Let sit for a few minutes or until soft. Take the porcini out of the broth and chop up into small pieces. Set aside the broth for now.

On the stove next to the broth begin cooking the onion in the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot. Keep the broth set up next to the pot you’re cooking the rice in and have a ladle on hand. When the onions are about to turn brown and are translucent, add the chopped garlic. Stir well making sure not to burn the garlic. Reduce heat to medium. Add your Arborio rice and stir well, coating all the rice with the butter. Continue to cook while stirring for a couple of minutes.

Add the white wine and stir well. Stir until the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. At this point add the broth that you soaked the porcini in making sure not to dump it all in as there may be some sediment on the bottom of the bowl. Add a ladle of broth and stir. Repeat this process over and over again for roughly 25 minutes or until the rice is soft but still has a bit of a bite in the middle. Remember to stir constantly and allow the rice to soak in the broth at each step.

While the rice is cooking place the fresh mushrooms on a oven tray and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Drizzle some olive oil over top and place in preheated 400 degree oven for roughly 15 minutes or until nicely roasted. Once cooked, remove and set aside. Any liquid that may have accumulated in the oven tray should be added to the rice while cooking, just pure flavour.

Once the rice is just about done add the chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese. Stir well and let the risotto rest for just a few minutes. You’re looking for a creamy oozing consistency not a thick clumpy look to it. Ladle the risotto onto serving dish and then top with roasted mushrooms. If you prefer you can stir the roasted mushrooms right into the risotto and serve it all mixed together. I happen to like the roasted mushrooms on top for presentation and aroma.


Mushroom Fried Rice Balls

  • 1 batch of cooked mushroom risotto (see above)
  • 1-2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 cups olive oil

This dish is a perfect use of left-overs. It originated as an experiment to try and get rid of risotto that hadn’t sold and just wouldn’t be fresh and creamy any longer. It has now become a staple on our appetizer menu. The flavours might change but the concept and textures are a huge hit with our customers.

Using any left over amount of risotto or after having made a batch of our Mushroom Risotto (see above) and allowed it to cool, begin by forming the balls with an ice cream scoop. Fill the scoop and press down making sure the balls are tight, form out all the rice onto a tray with some parchment paper on it. After the balls have been measured you need to form them into round balls and roll them in bread crumbs. Just as you would make meatballs take the rice and roll it in your hands and then roll it through a container of bread crumbs. Place on another tray with parchment paper on it. Continue until all rice is formed into balls and breaded.

Prepare a large, deep, fry pan filled ¾ with olive oil for frying. Heat the oil on high heat until it gets quite hot but not smoking. Add 4-5 balls at one time, doing it in small batches ensures the oil does not drop in temperature. Allow to brown and rotate and turn the balls making sure to evenly brown on all sides. Remove the cooked balls and place on a plate with a paper towel to help collect any excess oil. Serve warm with your favourite dipping sauce. We serve our app with a thyme, garlic mayo. You can use a lemon mayo, tomato sauce or server on their own.