Saturday, 25 May 2013

A Mushroom with a View

Risotto di Funghi & Pancetta
Mushroom & Bacon Risotto

Suppertime. Still cold and grey. As usual- the only solution was to be something warm and comforting! And nothing comforts an italian more than a nice, hot bowl of risotto! This time with yummy bacon, Spring onion and more of those little brown mushrooms, teamed with a little of the Feta cheese from the previous recipe and plenty of fresh parsley... a simple but simply satisfying affair!

I hadn't really planned on making a risotto, or I would have probably opted for the more traditional Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese to make it... but there you go! I used what I had at home- ain't that the way that a lot of new dishes get invented? It is in my house! And the Feta served me well in this mild and creamy yet cream-less combination... Read on to find out how I made it...

I started off by sautéing Spring onion together with bacon and chopped garlic, until the onion was translucent and the bacon and garlic beginning to brown. I then added the rice and some finely chopped parsley stalks (you know I never throw them away!), a pat of butter and a little nutmeg and stirred everything through nicely. Whilst they sizzled away, I quickly chopped up 3-4 of the brown mushrooms finely and added those too. But rather than deglaze the saucepan with wine as one normally would, I used some milk! Plain old ordinary milk- low fat milk at that! Because again... that's what I had!

I added just enough milk to cover the rice and stirred everything well, bringing up all the good flavors from the base of the pan. I love the way that milk, onion and bacon taste together- I have used this flavor combination in many a pasta dish and especially in combination with nutmeg when it takes on a kind-of "Bechamel-type" flavor, it is simply delicious!

And then the rest was the usual addition of broth, ladle by ladle, stirring in-between until the rice was done. I used some dried Porcini mushrooms to prepare the broth- the best way to get a nice intensive flavor into any mushroom dish. 

About 20 further minutes of occasional stirring later, the risotto was done- all it needed was a good sprinkle of cheese and a final pat of butter to make it nice and smooth and extra-yummy! I added a couple of mushrooms as a garnish, that I had sautéed in butter with plenty of pepper and a sprinkle of the finely chopped parsley leaves- and all I can say is wow! Creamy, rich, light but still somehow intense, this was a nice change to the usual risotto for me! And I suppose that would make it a pleasant change for all of you too! Give it a go and let me know!

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