Once you get the hang of risotto, it can be a quick dinner. Until you get the hang of it, it's overwhelming and intimidating to make. Get the hang of it... you'll be happy.
Here, we took a lesson from Jamie Oliver who grilled the mushrooms to give a deeper, nuttier flavor. But really, once you figure out the basic way to make risotto, don't stop with mushrooms... there are endless risotto combinations, so figure out the basics and add away based on what you have or what is cheap at the store.
- 1.5 litres organic chicken or vegetable stock, hot
- olive oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
- 400 g risotto rice
- 75 ml vermouth or white wine
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large handfuls wild mushrooms (try shiitake, girolle, chestnut or oyster), cleaned and sliced
- a few sprigs fresh tarragon or parsley, leaves picked and chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
In a large pan, heat a lug of olive oil and add the onion and celery. Slowly fry without colouring them for at least 10 minutes, then turn the heat up and add the rice. Give it a stir. Stir in the vermouth or wine. Keep stirring until the liquid has cooked into the rice. Now add a good pinch of salt and your first ladle of hot stock. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.
Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. This will take about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, get a BBQ hot and grill the wild mushrooms until soft. Put them into a bowl and add the chopped herbs, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Using your hands, get stuck in and toss everything together.
Take the risotto off the heat and check the seasoning carefully. Stir in the butter and the Parmesan. You want it to be creamy and oozy in texture, so add a bit more stock if you think it needs it. Put a lid on and leave the risotto to relax for about 3 minutes. This is the most important part.
Take your risotto and add a little more seasoning or Parmesan if you like. Serve a good dollop of risotto topped with some grilled dressed mushrooms, a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.