In common with many, our household is trying to eat less meat these days and I have found myself cooking and consuming more mushrooms in search of a satisfying savoury umami hit this winter. One dish in my repertoire that I have revived to good effect is mushroom risotto. Risottos were a staple of my younger years being both cheap to prepare and quite filling but they somehow drifted out of my focus over the last decade or so. Anyway, they are back in favour chez Yapp and it is like being reacquainted with an old friend or re-discovering an admired author. This one is relatively easy to prepare and I have found each successive execution an improvement on its predecessor.
(Serves 4 Adults)
300g of Chestnut Mushrooms or (even better) 150g of Chestnut Mushrooms and 150g of Shitake Mushrooms – all finely chopped.
2 large cloves of garlic
A large Spanish onion [About the size of a tennis ball]
1 litre of vegetable stock
175ml of neutral, dry white wine such as Soave
300g Arborio rice
50g freshly-grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper
A generous handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
Extra Virgin olive oil
Finely chop the onion and garlic then add two tablespoons of olive oil to a high-sided, thick-bottomed pan on a medium heat and gently cook the onion and garlic until they are translucent but not browned (around 5 minutes).
Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan, season with salt and pepper and add more oil if required. Cook, stirring intermittently, for around 10 minutes until the mushrooms are starting to soften and release liquid.
Add the rice to the pan and stir vigorously until it is fully mixed with the mushrooms, onion and garlic then add the white wine and continue to stir the mixture until that has evaporated.
Start to add the stock to the pan one ladle full at a time stirring the risotto until each batch has been absorbed. Continue until all of the stock has been absorbed by which time the rice should be cooked. If it still tastes at all dry or grainy you can add hot water (as above) until it is fully cooked. Now turn the heat off and stir a heaped teaspoon of butter in to the risotto and rest it for 5 minutes with the lid on before serving.
Serve the risotto in pre-warmed shallow bowls topped with parmesan and parsley to taste.
I would partner that with a medium-bodied red with some peppery notes and earthy undertones. This month's Coteaux de l'Ardèche: 'Basalte du Coiron' Syrah 2017 would be perfect.