One of my most favorite appetizer dishes is none other than Arancini, or more commonly known as stuffed rice balls. This is a dish of little Sicilian or Italian Rice Balls that are usually filled in the center with a creamy cheese or meat sauce ragù, then breaded and fried. They’re reminiscent of little orange balls.

Arancina means “little orange” in Italian and thus.. hence, we have these little “orange” balls of stuffed rice bursting with flavor. For this recipe I used Mushroom Risotto that was leftover from the prior days dinner.

Served with a tasty marinara sauce and topped with fresh Parmesan Cheese and fresh basil

18aThe cheese of choice for these delectable morsels was Havarti. Of course choose the cheese or cheese combination of your liking

zootooPrepare your rice or risotto per package instructions. Allow it to cool completely

shroomzI had on hand some very nice looking Shiitake mushrooms. I greatly enjoy the taste of these east Asian mushrooms. I add them at the end of cooking the risotto as I want them to retain texture and firmness

3Take a scoop or risotto or rice–about 2 Tbsps full and flatten out a tad in the palm of your hand

4Place your cheese of choice, or ragù in the center of the risotto and fold it over using your palms to make a ball

7aOh, they look so nice. Can you spot the shiitake mushrooms and orange bell pepper?

8aRoll them in the flour

10aA little dip in beaten eggs

11aCoat with seasoned Panko bread crumbs. I seasoned the bread crumbs with parsley, pepper, a little onion & garlic powder

12aOut of the bread crumbs and into the 350 oil frying pot

13aFry a few at time until nicely golden

14aPlace on paper towels to drain off excess oil

16aAdd a touch of parsley, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese and that’s it!

17aA very delicious appetizer or snack — Arancini

22aThat Harvarti cheese tho…


Shrimp & Lobster Risotto Stuffed Collard Green With Creole Sauce

This recipe was inspired by one that I saw as I was perusing Plate Magazine. I had in mind to make a few stuffed cabbage leaves, but then I happened upon this one using collard green leaves. The recipe was quite intriguing. The recipe used 48 collard green leaves stuffed with gold rice and shrimp, served with a Creole Sauce. 48 leaves is a tad much for a family of four, so I gave this recipe my own personal spin and tailored it to fit my family. I decided to make a risotto instead of the gold rice and added to that a nice mixture of mushrooms, lobster, and shrimp. along with the Creole Sauce as per the original recipe. It turned out fabulous and was very pleasing to the palate. 

Stuffed Collard Green

The sauce was quite tasty and complemented everything wonderfully

I cleaned and deveined the shrimp, removed the lobster tail meat from the shell and seasoned both with a little Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, Old Bay Seasoning, and freshly cracked black pepper and put those aside until needed. I also washed the collard green leaves. I used 7. I began by sautéing about 1/2 cup each of chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery in 3 Tbsp of melted butter until the vegetables began to get tender and with some translucency in the onion. In a separate pot,  I had the chicken stock on gentle heat–just enough to warm it through good, not simmer– 8 cups (16 oz.) of chicken stock.

Next was the addition of 3 Tbsp minced garlic and one bay leaf.  I stirred this as the garlic released its fragrant bouquet. I used my wooden spoon to gently press the bay leaf against the bottom of the pan as I stirred it about, to assist in releasing its essence. When you fully get the aroma from the garlic, its time to move on to the next step.

    Added two cups of Arborio rice.

Gave it a stir to get everything nice and incorporated with one another, stirring until the rice begins to get opaque.

To this went in the first of 8 cups (16 oz.) of chicken stock. You can easily use vegetable stock, chicken broth, or plain water. I find the former two imparts better flavor.  Stirring, let the rice absorb the broth, then add the next cup, continuing in this fashion until all 8 cups have been added.

Chopped mushrooms (7 of them) made their entrance, gave a little stir.

The pre-seasoned shrimp and lobster added.

A gentle stir and allowed to simmer until a nice creamy consistency was reached.

Generally  you want the risotto to be nice and creamy, but I need a slightly firmer texture this time around to hold better when wrapping in the collard green leaves. Salt and pepper to taste at this point.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Ahh, our lovely cleaned collard greens.

Dropped them in a pot of boiling water for several seconds. Just want to blanch them, not cook them. Remove and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

And this is what we have. I was trying to be gentle so as not to tear them…I almost succeeded .

Placed the collard green in my baking dish coated with a little spray of olive oil, added a generous amount of the risotto mixture and roll, leaving the seam side down.

Continued until all seven leaves were filled. At this point the Creole  sauce can be added on top and baked with the stuffed leaves. However, I chose to serve the sauce separately.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve atop the Creole sauce.

Shrimp & Lobster Risotto Stuffed Collard Green With Creole Sauce

The recipe that inspired this dish can be found in the link below. I may try it per the recipe one day, but I can tell you this–my household was greatly pleased with the outcome.

Orange Glazed Salmon with Parmesan & Mushroom Risotto, and Broccoli Rabe

I really enjoyed the subtle sweet flavors of this marinated salmon dish. The brown sugar (no, not me silly) gave it just the right amount, not overpowering the citrus spices. The risotto was creamy with that lovely taste of Parmesan, and of course the mushrooms gave it added texture and flavor. 

With a garnish of chopped scallions and shaved Parmesan cheese

Broccoli Rabe is a wonder green vegetable that balanced it all out

Here’s how I went about it;

1/2 lb salmon filet

1/2 c orange juice

1/3 c orange marmalade

2 sm cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 c brown sugar

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

2 tsp ginger-citrus seasoning

1 scallion

fresh cracked black pepper and salt to taste

Mix the orange juice, orange marmalade, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and mustard together very well and place in a plastic bag, seal it and allow the salmon to marinate for a few hours or so. The longer the better. These are not citrus juices, so the salmon will not ‘cook.’

Be sure to turn it a few times–flip the bag over that is.

When we’re ready to cook it, allow the salmon to reach room temperature. Heat a non-stick pan over moderate heat, spray with a little cooking oil. Add the salmon and saute for about 4 minutes, flip it and continue for about 3 minutes more.


Flip, almost done

Making the Parmesan & Mushroom Risotto

We’ll need 16 oz (8 cups) chicken stock (or broth) warmed on a medium low heat, extra virgin olive oil, one onion, chopped, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, mushrooms of your choice ( I had shiitake and oyster on hand), 2 bay leaves, 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, salt, fresh cracked black pepper.

Saute the onion and garlic in 1Tbsp olive oil until the onion is translucent and fragrant

Heat the chicken stock (or broth) in a separate pot

Add the mushrooms, thyme, & butter

In another pan saute onion, garlic, along with the bay leaves

Got the Arborio rice ready

Add the rice to our pan, and stir until the rice has a nice opaqueness to it, about a minute or so

Keep stirring…

Add one cup of the heated stock, stir and allow the rice to absorb it.

Continue to add the stock one cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb it each time, until we’re added all of the stock. We want a nice creamy consistency when done

Adding the sauteed mushrooms just before last cup of broth has been absorbed

In goes the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, stir well to melt

Broccoli Rabe—-Basic method of cooking is to drop a bunch into boiling salted water for about 2 minutes, then remove, drain, and cool. Add 3 smashed cloves of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes to a saute pan with a little extra virgin olive oil, and brown the garlic. Throw in the broccoli rabe and wilt it…done

Orange Glazed Salmon with Parmesan & Mushroom Risotto, with Broccoli Rabe– a nice tasty, healthy meal


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