Mushroom risotto (Risotto ai funghi porcini)
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- 400 grams (12-14 oz) Carnaroli rice (alternatively Arborio rice)
- 60 ml (2 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Knobs of butter
- 50 grams (2 oz) Dried porcini mushrooms (penny bun/cep)
- 1 Large shallot (finely chopped)
- 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) White wine
- 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) of hot chicken or vegetable stock (I have to say that you often need more than 1 litre so have some extra stock handy).
- 25 grams (1 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt for seasoning
- Ground black pepper (only on the table for those who wish to season)
- Rinse the dried mushrooms under fresh running water to eliminate impurities like sand, small pieces of wood etc.
- Next, soak the mushrooms in a bowl filled with 600 ml (2 1/2 cups) of warm water for 20-30 minutes. A couple of ladles of this water will be used at a later stage.
- Take the dried mushrooms from the bowl and squeeze them to eliminate excess water. Then, cut some of these mashrooms into small pieces (but not too small).
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pan with one knob of butter. Add the finely chopped shallot and sweat over a medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the shallot is soft.
- Add all the mushrooms to the pan and stir thorougly for 1 minute.
- Add the rice and stir until the rice is completely coated with the oil. You can see that the rice will start to become translucent. Keep stirring and sweat the rice for a minute or two.
- Then, add the white wine, keep stirring and let the wine evaporate (it will probably take a couple of minutes).
- Next, add a couple of ladles of water you used to soak the mushrooms in earlier. Stir gently until you see that you need to add more liquid. This time add the stock and turn the heat to medium/low.
- The stock, which is kept simmering in order to stay hot, should be added at the rate of a couple of ladlefuls at a time and when this is absorbed, add more stock. Carry on in this way for about 15 minutes. During this stage, do not leave the pan alone and regularly stir (gently).After 15 minutes, you will probably need an extra 3 to 5 minutes to complete the final stage of cooking (this time depends on the type of rice you are using). From now on, taste the rice every minute until the rice is cooked “al dente” (this means that the rice is tender outside, but still slightly firm to the bite in the centre). At the same time, the tasting will tell you if you need to adjust seasoning with salt. Regular but gentle stirring is required for the last minutes in order to avoid the risotto sticking to the bottom of the pan.In these last minutes, if the stock is completely absorbed, you can gradually add a bit more (say half ladle at a time) because at this final stage you do not want the risotto becoming too watery.
- When the rice is perfectly cooked ”al dente”, add the Parmesan cheese and stir for few seconds.
- Then remove the pan from the cooker, add the remaining knob of butter and gently stir until completely melted. Cover the pan with a lid for about 1 minute allowing the risotto to rest before serving it.
- Risotto should be served "all' onda" (like a wave). This means that when you serve it onto the plate, it should still flow a little.