Hearty, rich and all kinds of creamy is what a traditional risotto is all about! The earthiness of a porcini mushroom stock and a variety of wild mushrooms is what lends this dish all the flavour you need. Often known as ‘the death dish’ by any Masterchef enthusiasts out there, it’s considered being time-consuming and tedious to make. But once you learn how to, it’s as simple as it gets! Sure it may not be as perfect as any Italian nonna would make it, but it’s packed full of flavour and simple enough to experiment with. For anyone who loves Italian cuisine, it’s the epitome of comfort food!
PREPARATION TIME: 30-45 minutes
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
- 50g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 litre water
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- 4 garlic clove, finely diced
- 200g white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium Portobello mushroom, sliced
- Few sprigs of thyme
- 300g arborio rice
- 1 glass white wine (approx. 175ml)
- 25g butter, cut into cubes
- 50g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Sea salt & Black pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
(Recipe adapted from BBCGoodFood)
Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in a pot of boiling hot water for about 20 minutes and let it steep with a lid on. Strain the liquid through a sieve and chop the leftover porcini mushrooms.While the water is still hot, crumble in the vegetable stock cube and set aside.
Drizzle some olive oil into a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the onion and garlic and let it soften for a few minutes on a medium heat.
Toss the fresh mushrooms and porcini mushrooms into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, add the thyme leaves and stir until the mushrooms start to colour.
Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir around for a minute until it starts to get translucent around the edges. Next, deglaze the pan! Pour in the white wine and let it bubble until the alcohol has reduced and absorbed the lovely soffrito flavours off the pan.
Slowly pour in a quarter of the mushroom stock and stir. Let it simmer on a medium heat until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Repeat the process until the mushroom stock is over. The risotto should start gaining its infamous creamy texture at this point.
While adding the stock, adjust the seasoning if required. By the last quarter the rice should be al dente; almost cooked through with a slight bite to it. Continue to stir until the rice is cooked.
Take the pan off the heat, add in the butter, grate in the parmesan cheese and place a lid over the top for a few minutes so the rice can absorb all the remaining liquid and acquire the right consistency.
Stir through and serve warm!
It is essential to start the cooking process of the rice by toasting it on the heat before adding in any liquid.
Now it’s quite a debatable topic if you should stir your risotto or not to enhance that starchiness. In my opinion, stir it occasionally so as not to have anything stick to the bottom of the pan but do not vigorously stir.
Always make sure your pan doesn’t run dry and has some amount of stock left in it as it cooks. The gradual addition of stock is key with the perfect risotto!
It’s best to serve risotto straight away when it’s warm and still loose! Letting it sit around makes it dry and it’s not as pleasant to eat clumps of rice after.