Risotto is one of those quintessential Italian dishes that many adore but very few attempt at home. I personally believe that this is more to do with the fact that making a good risotto is time consuming. If you apply patience and effort you will be rewarded with a taste treat rarely forgot.
Makes 4 – 6 Serves
1 cup Arborio rice
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon grams butter
750ml good vegetable or chicken stock
4 tablespoons dry white wine or vermouth (optional)
15 grams of dried porcini mushrooms
100 ml water (hot)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
150 grams of mixed mushrooms (halved and sliced depending on size)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
1 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
1. Place the dried mushrooms into a small bowl and cover them with 100 ml of hot water. Set aside to soak.
2. Pour the stock into a small saucepan, bring to the boil then reduce the heat so it simmers gently.
3. In a separate pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the onion. Cook over a medium heat for around 6 minutes, until it softens but is not coloured, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring repeatedly so it becomes coated with the butter and the onions, then pour in the wine (if using) and stir until it is completely evaporated.
5. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the pan and keep stirring until it has all but disappeared.
6. Repeat step 5 until most of the stock has gone and the rice is almost cooked (approximately 15 -16 minutes).
Tip – taste the rice to see how cooked it is. It must be close to al dente (cooked but with a slight firmness). If it has not achieved this stage do not proceed to step 11 until it has.
7. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook fresh mushrooms until golden brown.
Tip – don’t be afraid to add some butter to the mushrooms so they soften and brown nicely.
8. Keep the mushrooms warm.
9. Remove the dried mushrooms from their water and chop roughly.
10. Strain the soaking liquid and add both the liquid and chopped mushrooms to the rice.
11. Cook away the excess liquid and then add half the fried mushrooms and the remaining stock. Stir through and taste rice to ensure it is cooked.
12. Remove hot pan from the heat, stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan, cover and leave to rest for 2 minutes.
13. Serve in warmed bowls, topped with the remaining fried mushrooms, a scattering of parsley and extra grated Parmesan cheese.