mushroom risotto

You have a bit of time to daydream when you’re standing around stirring risotto.* Time to ponder some of life’s great mysteries, like what can we do about global warming, what’s going to happen when the oil runs out, or who is the final undercover Cylon in Battlestar Galactica?**

Or you can just zone out and watch the rice swirling around in the pan as it absorbs the stock, transforming into plump little grains of savoury goodness.

Where does your mind wander to when you’re cooking?

*Mostly because you can’t go anywhere while you’re making it. Enforced relaxation? Hmmm…
**Some of us need to know, dammit. Roll on the final season in March, writers’ strike permitting.

Roasted mushroom risotto with parsley
 from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver

This recipe comes in two parts – the risotto bianco and the roasted mushroom add-ins. But once you’ve got the risotto bianco sorted, you can go wherever you like with it if you’re not a fan of ‘shrooms 🙂  

Serves 6

For the risotto bianco, you’ll need:

2 pints/1.1 litres stock (veggie/chicken/whatever you prefer)
2 tablespoons olive oil
a knob of butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400g risotto rice
2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
seas salt and freshly ground black pepper
70g butter
115g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Stage 1: Put the olive oil and butter into a large, heavy-based pan, add the onion, garlic and celery, and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

Stage 2: Keep stirring the rice until it looks slightly translucent (about a minute). Add the vermouth/wine and keep stirring.

Stage 3: Once the vermouth/wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft with a slight bite.

Stage 4: Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for two minutes. Then serve up 🙂

For the roasted mushrooms, you’ll need

200g wild mushrooms, cleaned and torn
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and halved
a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 tablespoon butter
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1 lemon
Parmesan cheese, for grating

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/400F/gas mark 6. Start making your risotto bianco. When you come towards the end of stage 3, you need to roast your mushrooms, so…

2. Heat a heavy-bottomed ovenproof frying pan or baking tray until medium hot and add a splash of oil. Fry the mushrooms for a minute or two, until they begin to colour, and season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, thyme and butter, and mix together.  Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast the mushrooms for 6 minutes or so, until cooked through.

3. At stage 4 of the risotto bianco recipe, when you add the butter and Parmesan, stir in all the parsley. Roughly chop half the roasted mushrooms and garlic, and stir into the risotto, adding a good squeeze of lemon juice to balance the flavours.

4. Divide between the plates and sprinkle over the remaining mushrooms. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Cook’s notes

I only had chestnut mushrooms but they worked out just fine.

Loved Jamie’s advice about letting the risotto relax for a couple of minutes after stirring in the Parmesan and butter. As he says, ‘it becomes amazingly creamy and oozy’ during this time. Perfect.

I kept this post pretty short because of all the recipe-typing-up involved. And because my arm has nearly fallen off from stirring risotto.