On a recent holiday to Santa Fe, NM, I found this stunning piece of cloth nosing around in a vintage store called Look What the Cat Dragged In 2. I think it used to be a curtain actually, but my first thought was: ‘What can I cook and serve on top of this beautiful fabric?!?’ Funny where we get our inspiration come from isn’t it, but that’s why I decided to make a mushroom risotto.
People are always asking what the secret is to the perfect risotto, and the answers vary significantly. Some say it’s the variety of mushrooms you use. Other swear by butter, cream and parmesan cheese. For me, it’s patience. And truffle oil.
This is the one dish that you can’t ask a teenager or husband to keep an eye on, because they will no doubt be stirring half heartedly with an iPhone glued to the other hand playing a game (or whatever it is that they do on that blooming thing all the time).
A risotto takes time, patience and love. That’s it.
1 x portobello mushroom
Button mushrooms (4 or 5 of each of these smaller mushroom varieties)
1 x shallot (finely chopped)
2 x cloves garlic (minced)
1l (1qt) chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 cup Arborio rice
2 tbs Earth Balance vegan butter (or real butter if you prefer; I’m lactose intolerant)
Slice the mushrooms thinly and shallow fry with a drop of olive oil on a medium heat. Cook them slowly with the lid on to keep all that amazing mushroom liquid from evaporating.
Meanwhile add your stock to a pot and heat up to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer.
Fry the shallots and garlic in a splash of oil until just brown, then add your butter and rice.
Make sure the butter melts all the way and that all the rice kernels are covered. This prevents the rice from sticking.
Now here comes the time consuming part. If you need a loo break or to answer some texts, then now is the time to go.
Start scooping the warm stock into the rice one soup ladle at a time, stirring slowly with a spatula (preferably one with a silicone tip) until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Now add another ladle of warm stock and repeat the process until the rice is al dente (firm, but not crunchy in the middle). This process normally takes about 35 munites.
Add the mushrooms to the risotto and season only now with salt. Careful not to over salt as the stock might be a bit salty already, depending on where you buy it.
Finally, fold about 2 table spoons of truffle oil through the dish, and serve immediately on a warm plate.
– The best way to stir as you ladle in the stock is by dragging your spatula from the edge of your pan towards the middle, going round and round. The point of this is to cook the rice evenly.
– Don’t rush the stock adding process.
– Have a few teaspoons handy to test the rice. Don’t double dip!
– The truffle oil is an expensive luxury I got for Christmas from my darling husband. If you don’t have any then simply leave it out. The truffle salt can also be substituted for regular salt.
– Cold risotto is not nice, hence my suggestion to serve it on a warm plate.
– Make sure your table is set before you start making the risotto.
– You do not have to use 4 different kind of mushrooms. I’ve made it only with button mushrooms and it was delicious. Just please do not use canned mushrooms. Absolutely not.
– You can of course sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top, but I personally feel it’s rich enough without it.
Im our home this makes 4 portions, but we always have snacks to start and always have dessert. Frankly, I can easily finish the entire pan by myself, so double up the recipe to avoid disappointment.