Risotto with Dried Porcini Mushrooms
An absolute delight at any time, and especially so on a Winter's evening, risotto is good, traditional, Italian comfort food at it's simplest and finest!
With just a handful of ingredients and an hours time or so, a wonderful bowl of steaming, creamy, delicious rice can be yours and can chase away those Winter blues... who cares if there's sleet, snow and rain outside, when you have this inside?
Dried porcini mushrooms are magical things! They are one of those things that taste better dried than they do fresh- their flavor is richer, deeper, more intense... like I said- they're magical!
2 cups of Arborio rice, 1 cupful of dried porcini, 1 shallot, a little rosemary, a little parsley, a little Parmesan cheese, a little white wine and a pat or two of butter... and you are just a few steps away for 2 servings of a wonderful risotto!
Don't worry... it tastes better than it looks- muahahahaha!
Of course, you will need a good broth to make your risotto, so pop the mushrooms, the parsley stalks and half of the rosemary into a saucepan and add 6-7 cups of water. You will need around 3 times the amount of water as you have rice as a rule of thumb. Bring the water to the boil, reduce to a low simmer and let it bubble away for 15 minutes for the broth to begin to develop... and in the meantime, get started on the rice!
Finely chop the shallot and pop it into your saucepan with a couple of pats of butter and a little finely chopped rosemary... let the shallot cook until it becomes translucent and the butter begins to turn frothy.
Now add the rice and stir it in until it becomes nicely coated all over.
Deglaze the saucepan with a splash of white wine... and get ready to start transforming that rice into... risotto!
Pour the broth through a coffee filter, in order to keep it clear of any grains of sand that may have been on the mushrooms, then pop it back onto the stove top on a low simmer, along with the mushrooms, but discard the parsley and rosemary as they have done their duty.
Now, begin adding the broth, 1 ladle at a time to the rice and stirring it in as necessary... you know how it's done!
Being as the mushrooms have been cooking in the broth and in the risotto as well, you need not worry about them being cooked long enough or the broth being tasty enough- you will see how it soon becomes a beautiful rich, deep brown after they boil for just 5-10 minutes.
After around 25-30 minutes or so, depending on the variety of rice you use, you will be nearly done- time to add a last pat of butter, a good pinch of grated Parmesan and to stir everything together... so lovely and creamy it will be too!
Add half of the chopped parsley, stir it in and then turn off the heat and let the rice sit, with the lid on, for 5 minutes before serving.
Sprinkle with a little Parmesan, parsley and pepper, serve with a broad smile... and enjoy!
And if that isn't delicious, ladies and gentlemen... then I don't know what is!
Soothes your body and soul and makes the Winter so much easier to enjoy! A good bowl of risotto is one of the best Winter foods there is!