Wild mushroom risotto balls

Smoked bacon, leek and thyme help flavour Neven Maguire's risotto balls flecked with fresh and dried wild mushrooms
By Neven Maguire
Wild mushroom risotto balls
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus chilling time
  • Effort: easy


  • 25 g dried porcini or cep mushrooms
  • 75 g unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 100 g piece rindless smoked bacon, finely diced
  • 225 g mixed mushrooms, such as shitake, chestnut, chanterelle and oyster, sliced
  • 2 litres approx vegetable stock
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 450 g risotto rice, such as arborio
  • 175 g mascarpone
  • 4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
  • 175 g parmesan, grated
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g toasted dried breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • dressed bitter salad leaves, to serve

Tips and Suggestions

You can also use this technique for leftover risotto of almost any variety.


1. Soak the dried mushrooms in a bowl with 300ml hot water.

2. Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan, add the leeks and smoked bacon and cook over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until the leeks are softened and the bacon is sizzling. Add the fresh mushrooms and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until tender. Season to taste, then tip into a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

3. Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

4. Wipe out the pan that the mushroom mixture was cooked in and return to the heat. Add the remaining butter, then tip in the onions, thyme and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the rice and cook for another minute, stirring to ensure all the grains are well coated.

5. Drain the cep (porcini) mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Pour it into the pan of rice and allow to bubble down, stirring until it has been completely absorbed. Meanwhile, chop the rehydrated mushrooms and add them too.

6. Start adding the simmering stock a ladle at a time, stirring frequently. Allow each stock addition to be almost completely absorbed before adding the next. After approximately 20 minutes, add the sautéed mushroom mixture, the mascarpone, parsley and half the Parmesan. Stir energetically to combine. Season to taste and leave to cool completely.

7. Season the flour and place on a flat plate. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season to taste. Mix the remaining Parmesan with the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Using a small ice cream scoop, take balls of the cold risotto and lightly dust in the seasoned flour. Dip in the beaten egg and then quickly roll in the Parmesan breadcrumbs until well coated. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper and chill for at least 1 hour to firm up (or overnight is fine).

8. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the risotto balls for 6-8 minutes until crisp and golden brown, moving regularly in the pan to ensure they cook evenly. Drain well on kitchen paper and keep warm while you cook the remainder.

9. To serve, arrange three risotto balls on each plate with some dressed salad leaves.

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