I love standing in the kitchen stirring a risotto, it’s comfort cooking resulting in comfort food. A glass of wine and some family or friends to chat with while I do the standing and stirring element is all that’s required to make me really happy. There’s nothing technically difficult with a risotto, you just have to be prepared to be patient, and the varieties that you can make are endless once you have the standard parts in place. This recipe was inspired by a delightful plate of mushroom tagliatelli I ate in Tenby while on holiday this summer, and The Husband loved it – it’s set to become a regular meal in our house. Serves 4.
15g dried porcini mushrooms
800ml stock (I use Knorr mushroom stock pots)
Slurp of olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
400g risotto rice
125ml white wine
Small handful chopped parsley
150g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- Cover the dried mushrooms in a little boiling water and set to one side.
- Heat the slurp of oil in a large deep frying pan or similar and add the onion along with a pinch of salt (depending on how salty your stock is), and cook for a good 5 minutes minimum over a low heat until really soft, adding in the garlic halfway through. Keep it moving, you don’t want to burn the garlic.
- While that’s happening put your stock in a saucepan, bring it to a low simmer, and keep it gently bubbling away.
- Increase the heat under the onions a bit, add the rice and mix well until it’s all beautifully shiny and opaque.
- Pour in the wine, let it sizzle, then keep stirring until it evaporates.
- Now comes the bit that needs patience – add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly, only adding the next ladleful when the previous one is completely absorbed by the rice.
- When you’ve nearly added all of the stock, add in the now rehydrated porcini mushrooms and the liquid they were sitting in, that should now be delightfully mushroomy. Keep stirring, keep adding stock.
- When the rice is cooked but not stodgy (it should have a little bite left) take it off the heat, stir in most of the parsley, most of the cheese, half of the butter, and check for seasoning.
- Put a lid on the pan and leave it alone for 3 minutes.
- That’s just enough time to fry the shiitake mushrooms in the remaining butter – my tip here is to keep them in a single layer, and the heat quite high, and only turn them when they’ve become golden and brown – the more you fiddle with them the soggier they will become.
- Stir the mushrooms through the risotto, and serve with the remaining cheese and parsley. And probably a glass of wine.
Note: feel free to swap the parsley for tarragon, it’s a variation we love.