The Comforting Taste of Risotto

Even though it sounds a bit wintery, I just couldn’t resist making a mushroom risotto for M. Both comforting and tasty, a good mushroom risotto is always a winner. I make it with red wine and pangrattato in winter and white wine and salsa verde in summer for a fresher meal.

Mushroom Risotto
Serves 6

Stock (I made a simple vegetable stock – onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaf, salt and pepper corns)
Olive oil
One onion
One stalk of celery
One very generous glass of white wine for the risotto and one for you to drink while cooking
3 cups of risotto rice
A variety of mushrooms
Dried chilli
A handful of thyme
Salt
A lump of butter
Parmesan or grana pedana

Gently fry your finely diced onion and celery in olive oil, then add your rice for a few mintues. Next add a glass of white wine and stir until it has burnt off.  Now add your stock little by little, stirring as much as you can. You don’t have to toil over the stove for the entire time, but the more you stir, the better the end texture. It’s something to do with activating the starch in the rice, making it rich and creamy without having to add too much cheese and butter.

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While this is going on, cut up your mushrooms  and put them in a roasting tray with olive oil, sea salt, thyme and a little chilli. Pop these in the oven which has been preheated to 180°. Roasting the mushrooms rather than frying means that they are rally chunky and juicy, adding more substance to the risotto.

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When the rice is almost ready, add the mushrooms to the pot, letting the rice absorb the tasty juices they have made. Then turn the heat off, add a lump of butter and some grated parmesan (or grana pedana – cheaper because it has only been aged for half the time) and pop a lid on.

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I served this with a little extra parmesan and a salsa verde. This is a niceaddition in summer as it freshens the flavour, giving the risotto a bit more of a zing.

My Salsa Verde on a budget

A handful of flat leaf parsley
4 cubes of frozen spinach
1 peeled clove of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tea spoon of mustard
Generous glug of olive oil
Splash of balsamic
Salt

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I know it sounds cliched, but I cannot believe it is December already! School finishes in a matter of days and the Christmas parties, end of year catch up and dinners have begun. A highlight was definitely Delaney‘s pop up dinner party on Friday night, who would have thought a beautiful menu planned with the head chef of The Grove could end with dancing to Weezer at 4am? I am also planning a Christmas dinner party with my dear friend Anna for this Friday night. My little sister brought me a beautiful fillet of beef up from Wellington in her handbag last weekend, so I am thinking that will be the feature. Is N for natale (Christmas in Italian) a stretch for this week’s N recipe? Or do you have other good ideas?

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