Friday, February 02, 2018

Eating up the Hill: Mushroom Arancini with Tomato Sauce

It's a new year, and the Parliamentary cafeteria system is celebrating with some new additions to its menu. And after two-and-a-half-years of the same menu of specials on a six-week rotation, I for one welcome this real change.

The first new menu item I had the opportunity to try the Mushroom Arancini with Tomato Sauce. I usually check the menu online before heading down to the caf, but this one I had to Google as I had no idea what it was. But when I learned it was risotto balls, I was in. Why didn't they just call it risotto balls? Marketing, people!

I was served two good-sized risotto balls, or Arancini if you're all fancy like that, generously bathed in tomato sauce. I was a bit surprised there was no side or anything else to it -- some pasta, perhaps. But nope, I was told that's it, there's rice inside. So I added a bowl of seafood chowder, which I would have added anyway because seafood chowder is awesome.

I dug in and it was quite tasty. A mix of three types of mushrooms was a highlight (oyster, button and shiitake) and the buttery risotto contrasted well with the tomato sauce. And I was impressed that, for once, the cafeteria made it a genuinely vegetarian meal by cooking the rice in vegetable stock. Quite often, they will take a meatless dish and make it inaccessible to vegetarians (and Halal-observing Muslims and kosher-observing Jews) by using a chicken stock.

While I still think they could add a nickel's worth of noodles on the side for a heartier main and still maintain their margins, for $7.63 taxes-in (not including soup) it's good value and a good addition to the starting rotation.

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