Black Rice, Shiitake Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Arancini with Arugula Pesto


I decided to  grow my own shiitakes for the hell of it. It was pretty easy. I ordered a shiitake log, soaked it in water, and let it grow. (The pictures below are what the mushrooms grew to in 5 days) I had to do something with the mushrooms and decided to make something with them. Rice, mushrooms, and arugula sounded perfect with some goat cheese so I decided to make arancini which is just a fried rice ball with cheese in the middle.ShiitakeGrowing



They call these arancini because of the shape and color resemble an orange. The word arancia is orange in italian. Typically this is made with arborio rice, but I wanted to try something different so I used black rice instead (also known as forbidden rice) which has a nice color when cooked and tastes similar to brown rice. Arancini is a versatile food. You can substitute cheeses, use meats, or add vegetables to it as well. Get creative and make it your own.

Black Rice

  • 2 cups black rice
  • 5-6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped shiitake mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (if the cooked rice mixture isn’t sticky enough then add 1 egg.)
  • 6oz goat cheese rolled into balls for filling


  • 8 oz Panko bread crumbs or italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • oil for frying

Arugula Pesto

  • 1 large bag of arugula (it should fill the entire processor)
  • 1/2 cup of cheese (parmesan, pecorino romano, asiago etc)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • juice of 1 lime half

Makes about 24-26 arancini

First make your pesto. Combine all the ingredients in a processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.



Heat the 5-6 cups of vegetable stock in a sauce pan making sure it stays hot. In another pan sauté onions and mushrooms in the olive oil. Once the onions are clear mix in the black rice, making sure all the grains are coated. Add a couple cups of stock making sure it covers the rice. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmering heat. Stir rice occasionally, adding more stock  as the rice cooks for about 20 mins.


Once the rice is tender mix in the cheese. Spread onto an open pan or plate and let cool in a refrigerator until chilled. About one hour.


While the rice is cooling take your goat cheese and roll 24-26 to 1/2 inch balls.


Once the rice is cooled, take heaping spoons of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Take a ball of goat cheese and press it into the center and push rice up and over the cheese re-rolling the ball making sure to seal it. Repeat this with the rest of the rice and cheese.

BallRoll1 BallRoll2 BallRoll3

Set up the 3 bowl breading line. One bowl of flour, one bowl of eggs and milk mixed, and one bowl of bread crumbs. Roll the balls into the flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumbs. Make sure you firmly press the breading to coat it well. Repeat with remaining arancini.


Heat frying oil in a pan at about med high heat. About 350˙F. Fry arancini 2 to 3 at a time turning to brown all sides. Place on towels to remove excess oil and place in oven at low temp to keep warm until served. Serve with arugula pesto and garnish with tomatoes & basil and a balsamic vinegar reduction. These make great appetizers served on their own or serve a couple with a side salad as a meal. Enjoy!


Arancini7 Arancini4


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