Before I say anything about this recipe, let me just put this out there – I LOVE MUSHROOMS! Unfortunately for me, my family hates them with an equal passion. As a result, whenever I'm dining on my own I usually cook something that is so utterly mushroom-heavy that none of them would ever eat it. This recipe fits that bill. It's the dried porcini mushrooms that do it. Before I tried adding those to my risotto it just wasn't, you know, mushroomy enough, but the porcini give it that extra depth of earthy mushroom flavour. Occasionally, if I fancy a bit of variety, I add a couple of handfuls of spinach a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking and maybe crumble over a little blue cheese too.
Risotto isn't the quickest meal to make but it's not exactly difficult either. I certainly don't stir it constantly – I find a quick stir every couple of minutes perfectly adequate. And, of course, the added bonus of making risotto for dinner is that it gives you an excuse to open a bottle of wine – and enjoy a glass while the risotto is cooking!
Mushroom risottoServes 1
10g dried porcini mushrooms
1 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
80g risotto rice (I use Arborio)
½ tsp dried thyme
75ml dry white wine
225ml boiling vegetable stock (I use Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon)
30g Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative), grated
Place the porcini mushrooms in a cup and pour over boiling water to cover. Set aside to soak for at least 10 minutes.
Heat the oil and half the butter over a low heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Increase the heat slightly, add the chestnut mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and thyme.
Pour in the wine and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the stock a little at a time, stirring frequently, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. This process will take a good 20–25 minutes.
Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, and slice. Add the porcini to the pan along with the reserved soaking liquid. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed and the grains of rice are tender.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the Parmesan cheese and the remaining butter, and stir until melted. Enjoy!