In my experience, when it comes to risotto most people’s frame of reference seems to be the omnipresent mushroom risotto. In fact, I would wager that precious few have ever tired any other sort of risotto and who could blame them – mushroom risotto is utterly delicious! Given its popularity, it is tempting to dismiss mushroom risotto as de rigueur but don’t. It is for good reason that this risotto remains an enduring classic and, as a bonafide fungi-fiend, I would rate it as perhaps my all time favorite mushroom dish.
Should you like to read more on my thoughts on risotto, please follow the link http://wp.me/P4JqRl-5z
RECIPE NOTE: The rice quantities for these recipes vary depending on the number of people you are feeding and whether you intend making the risotto as a main meal or an accompaniment. As a general rule of thumb, I use approx. 70-80ml of rice per person for a main meal and 50-60ml as an side dish. Generally, risotto recipes on my blog are based on 2 people eating a full portion.
MUSHROOM RISOTTO: Serves 2
- 5-10g dried porcini mushrooms
- 250g mixed mushrooms, the more varied the selection the better
- Half an onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 100ml wine, white
- 50g butter
- 150ml risotto rice
- A large pot of good quality hot stock, chicken or vegetable
For the mantecare:
- 50g butter, cold & cubed
- 50g parmesan or pecorino, finely grated
- Italian flat leafed parsley, finely chopped
- Extra parmesan or pecorino, finely grated
- Soak the dried porcini in boiling water for 20 minutes. Once soft, remove the porcini and reserve the liquid to add to the risotto later. Chop the porcini and keep to one side.
- Slice your fresh mushroom mixture and divide in half.
- Make sure your chosen stock is hot and is on a medium simmer.
- Set a kitchen timer to 18 minutes but don’t start the clock just yet.
- Start the risotto by putting the butter into a thick based saucepan, large enough to accommodate the cooked risotto (I use a cast iron pot). Melt the butter and then add the diced onions. Lightly sauté the onions but be careful not to brown them. Once the onions have softened, add the garlic and chopped porcini and lightly fry for another minute.
- Add all the rice to the onions and coat the rice in the butter. This is a vital step in the cooking process and should not be skipped. Sauté for a minute or so on a medium heat until the rice begins to look shiny and a little opaque (be careful that the onions and garlic don’t burn).
- Add the wine to the saucepan, bring the heat up to a high-medium and allow the rice to absorb the liquid.
- Heat a frying pan to sauté the sliced mushrooms.
- Now start the timer – for the next 18 minutes you will need to remain focused on the risotto.
- First add the reserved porcini soaking liquid to the rice but be careful to avoid any sandy residue at the bottom of the bowl. Once the mushroom liqueur has been absorbed by the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock, you want enough stock to just cover the rice.
- In the meantime, add some butter and olive oil to the hot frying pan. Take the other half of the sliced mushrooms and add to the pan. Sauté until golden brown and season lightly. Remember not to neglect the risotto while you are sautéing the mushrooms.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir the rice every minute or so. You must pay particular attention to the bottom of the pan as you don’t want the rice to stick and burn. The rice will start to absorb the stock and once you are able to “cut through” the rice to the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon, it is time to add more stock. Never let the rice dry out completely. After about 12 minutes, add half the sliced mushrooms to the rice, making sure to do so just after adding more stock.
- Continue adding stock until you are about a minute and a half away from the end of the 18 minutes. Check to see if the risotto needs any more stock, if so add it but do so judiciously – you don’t want to end up with a soupy risotto. After this point you don’t want to add any more stock.
- When the timer sounds, take the pan off the heat and put to one side (uncovered). Set your timer for another 2 minutes and allow the risotto to rest.
- Now for the mantecare. Take your chilled butter cubes and grated cheese out of the fridge. Once the risotto has rested for 2 minutes add your butter cubes – stir until the butter is incorporated completely. Add most of the grated cheese and stir to combine.
- Check for seasoning and add accordingly.
- Add half the sautéed mushrooms and a bit of the chopped parsley and give the risotto a final stir.
- Spoon onto warmed plates and top with the remaining sautéed mushrooms and parsley. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese.