Food and drink

Mushroom Risotto


I was watching Jamie’s 30 minute meals a few weeks ago and he made a mushroom risotto. Every time I’ve tried risotto in the past I’ve not enjoyed it. I don’t know if it was undercooked or they added too much cheese (I’m not a big fan of cheese that tastes like cheese) but the texture wasn’t right and the taste just didn’t do anything for me. However the mushroom risotto Jamie was cooking looked like the kind of risotto I could get into, so I looked up a few recipes and decided to give it a go.

Risotto takes a little bit of patience and needs to be nurtured along to it’s perfect consistency. You need to stir it almost constantly to get the starch out of the rice so it becomes thick and creamy. If you let it sit the rice at the bottom can catch and burn and if just boil it like you’d cook normal rice you’d lose the creamy texture that makes risotto what it is.

By the time my risotto was ready my wrist felt like it was ready to drop off from all the stirring. I’d chosen to use a mix of chestnut mushrooms and oyster mushrooms which seemed to work pretty well. I love chestnut mushrooms, they’re always full of flavour and a much better option than the boring little button mushrooms you get in the supermarket. Most recipes I looked at added some porcini to the dish at the end but I couldn’t find any in our local supermarket so didn’t bother.

This recipe definitely converted me to being a risotto fan. It helps that I love mushrooms so it was starting ahead of the game anyway. It’s an easy recipe to follow, is very, very filling and it made enough to feed me a healthy lunch for a few days at work as well as dinner one night. A little tip though if you’re reheating the leftovers in the office microwave, adding a good splash of water halfway through and giving it a stir prevents it becoming a stodgy, thick lump of rice.

Serves 4 or 1 over a number of days

1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
350g arborio rice
1 glass white wine
1 litre vegetable stock
1 pack of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
Half a pack of oyster mushrooms, sliced
Fresh parmesan (not the tub of pre-grated stuff)
Large knob of butter (about 25g)

Gently fry the onion and garlic in some oil until softened.
Add the mushrooms and brown.
Stir in the rice so it coats in the oil and add the white wine.
Keep stirring the rice until the liquid has been absorbed.
Add a splash of stock and stir the rice until it’s absorbed.
Continue adding the stock and stirring it in until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is plump and tender (a little bit of bite in the middle of the rice is good, crunchy and sticking in your teeth is bad).
Stir in the butter, a large amount of grated parmesan and some salt and pepper (some parsley too if you like).
If you end up going too far and the risotto is too sticky and thick, just add a little water and stir it in to loosen up the rice again.

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