It’s officially my favourite Italian dish since Pizza Hut started making stuffed crusts.
Risotto, risotto, risotto… where to start? After hearing how nice it was from a friend, I journeyed through the web to find a recipe for it. After settling on BBC Good Food, as I usually do – I’m happy to entrust myself with a site that blatantly refers to their brilliance in the name – I bought the ingredients, rolled my sleeves up and started cooking.
Last week, I finally got round to that job I’ve been avoiding for months now. Sorting out all my kitchen clutter. Admit it, it’s part of human nature – especially mine – to hate tidying up. But when I discovered a circular pastry cutter in the back of my cupboard, I can honestly say, hand on heart, that there was a light bulb above my head as I studied it.
Whilst mentally making a note to kick myself for missing my Food Technology lesson when we made this, I tucked in. And by god, was it good. Yet, my Dad complained because it had no meat in. But what can you do? Risotto is as damn near close to perfect as you’ll get. (NB: If you haven’t already noticed, my food obsession does seem to change every week.)
- 50g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 250g pack chestnut mushrooms , sliced and washed
- 300g risotto rice , such as arborio
- 1 x 175ml glass white wine
- 25g butter
- Handful parsley leaves, chopped
- 50g Parmesan, freshly grated
- Put the dried mushrooms into a large bowl and pour over 1 litre boiling water. Soak for 20 mins, then drain into a bowl, discarding the last few tbsp of liquid left in the bowl. Crumble the stock cube into the mushroom liquid, then squeeze the mushrooms gently to remove any liquid. Chop the mushrooms.
- Heat the oil in a shallow saucepan or deep frying pan over a medium flame. Add the onions and garlic, then fry for about 5 mins until soft. Stir in the fresh and dried mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for 8 mins until the fresh mushrooms have softened.
- Tip the rice into the pan and cook for 1 min. Pour over the wine and let it bubble to nothing so the alcohol evaporates. Keep the pan over a medium heat and pour in a quarter of the mushroom stock. Simmer the rice, stirring often, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Add about the same amount of stock again and continue to simmer and stir – it should start to become creamy, plump and tender. By the time the final quarter of stock is added, the rice should be almost cooked.
- Continue stirring until the rice is cooked. If the rice is still undercooked, add a splash of water. Take the pan off the heat, add the butter and scatter over half the cheese and the parsley. Cover and leave for a few mins so that the rice can take up any excess liquid as it cools a bit. Give the risotto a final stir, spoon into bowls and scatter with the remaining cheese and parsley.