After making my Simple Sauteed Mushrooms I couldn't resist using them to make a warming, comforting and delicious earthy mushroom risotto.
Since the weather has changed and the temperatures dipped (significantly) I am craving nothing but comfort food and for me, risotto belongs in that category – pure comfort food capable of giving you a culinary hug and allowing you to forget about the cold miserable weather outside. I am by no means a risotto expert but I love it and enjoy making it when I have time to stand and serenely stir the rice watching it transform from glistening crunchy rice to a smooth, creamy and luxurious risotto. Any effort or time used to make the risotto is worth it as you are rewarded for your patience with the taste of the perfectly cooked risotto, which you want to do oozy and soft and not at all thick and stodgy – after all there is nothing comforting or luxurious in that!
Over the years I have found that my favourite way to eat and enjoy this risotto is definitely to sauté my mushrooms separately so that I can add some of them to the risotto towards the end and then use the rest as a garnish for a bit more texture and taste. That way you get the real flavour of mushroom in this risotto and it's not just a lingering afterthought. If you prefer you can saute the mushrooms before and then set aside (keeping them warm) until they are needed. Or if you can multitask, have them cooking away as you are making the risotto so they are ready as you need them.
1 quantity of Simple Sauteed Mushrooms
15g/ ½ oz dried porcini mushrooms
15g/ ½ oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
100ml white wine
300g Arborio rice
1000-1250ml chicken or Vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
5 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil (optional)
Pop your dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl, cover with hot water and set aside for 20 minutes.
Put your stock in a separate pan, turn the heat on low and keep it hot.
In a large frying pan heat the oil and 1 tbsp of butter until the butter is melted. Add the onion and gently sauté for 5 minutes until it has softened. Add the garlic cloves and cook for another minute. Stir in the rice and make sure every grain is covered with the butter and onion mix. Leave to cook for 1 minute before adding the wine. When all the wine has been absorbed, add the porcini mushrooms to the rice and use the water it has soaked in to start cooking the rice, adding a ladle at a time. Leave the last little bit of the liquid as it can be grainy from the dirt removed from the mushrooms.
Keep stirring the risotto and when all the mushroom stock has been used start using your chicken or vegetable stock, again only adding a ladle at a time making sure each time its absorbed before adding more.
Towards the end of cooking add half of the mushrooms to the risotto mix and keep the other half warm. When the rice grains are tender, remove from the heat. Sprinkle over half of the Parmesan, the remaining butter (in little pieces) and parsley. Cover and leave for a minute or so then stir it in and check the seasoning. Serve immediately with a spoonful of the sautéed mushrooms on top and another good sprinkling of Parmesan. Finish with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil, or if you have it for some extra added decadence add a drizzle of truffle oil. Lovely!