risotto with mixed mushrooms

23rd August 2009

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Stacey and the children left late last night, so for our last meal together, we decided to try another of the recipes from Maxine Clark’s Italian Kitchen – Wild Mushroom Risotto or in the Italian way, risotto ai funghi di bosco.  We found this wonderful cookbook at a store in Hastings Street, Noosa, and I bought it for her birthday.  For myself, I purchased her Chocolate offerings.  Her books are full of interesting facts about the feature ingredients, handy hints, easy to follow instructions and enticing photographs.

It was very sad to see Stacey leave, as it was wonderful to share not only her company, but also the daily food journeys – deciding what to buy and what to eat, dividing up the tasks and of course, enjoying the end results.  I envy those cultures where their lifestyles centre around food, where families and friends enjoy the importance of food and its preparation.  At least, for a short time, it was nice to be able to share a part of that with someone I love and who has the same passion and gains the same enjoyment from this daily necessity.

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mixed mushroom risotto

I used button mushrooms and dried shitake mushrooms (available from Asian section of supermarkets).  These were what I had available, but next time I would add porcini mushrooms as well.  The original recipe used a dry white wine, however I substituted the water from soaking the dried mushrooms.  Below, is the original recipe, but if you don’t wish to use the butter as I did, you could replace it with ghee or olive oil.  I used more mushrooms than was listed, as that was our preference, adjust to own taste.  I halved the recipe as we used it as a side dish.

1.5 L vegetable stock

125g unsalted butter (if using ghee/olive oil, about 3 tab)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed

250g mixed mushrooms, coarsely chopped (if using a combination of dried and fresh, 200g fresh and 25g dried porcini/shitake soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained and chopped)

1 tab each of freshly chopped thyme and marjoram

150mL dry white wine (or extra stock/mushroom water)

500g risotto rice (arborio)

75g fresh, grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to taste and serve

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the stock in a small saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer.  In a separate large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter (ghee/olive oil) and add the onion and garlic.  Cook gently for 10 minutes, until soft, golden and translucent but not browned.  Stir in the mushrooms and herbs, then cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes to heat through.

Pour in wine/extra stock and boil hard until it is reduced and almost disappeared (removes taste of raw alcohol).  Stir in the rice and fry until dry and slightly opaque.

Begin adding stock, a large ladleful at a time, stirring until each has been absorbed by the rice.  Continue until rice is tender and creamy, but grains still firm (about 15-20 minutes, depends on rice used, check packet instructions)

Taste and season well with salt and pepper.  Stir in the parmesan cheese, cover and let rest for a couple of minutes.  Serve immediately with extra grated/shaved parmesan.

Serve with a green salad.

Dried shitake mushrooms

Dried shitake mushrooms

Goodness shared from Donna

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