Recently I was invited to a cook-off. The idea was for the guys (French Rock the convener, Home Ruler the publisher, Jacob my Brother-in-Law and me) to do the cook-off and impress the ladies in their lives (or some of their lives – French Rock is not what you would call a ladies-man). Each participant had to make 2 dishes. I made my Borscht (beetroot soup) for starters and the most decadent Mushroom Risotto for a side. The other guys made a.o. pork neck with exotic spices & sticky sauce, aubergine rolls with goat’s cheese stuffing, fresh steamed vegetables and a chocolate terrine.
I gave the beetroot soup a little Hungarian inspiration by using Kolbasz Sausage to flavour, but I’ll do another post on that. Let’s get to the Risotto. You’ll need the following:
2-3 l stock. If you can find – use Telma mushroom stock cubes – if not – make chicken stock
2 cups risotto rice
2x50 g butter
250 ml dry white wine
All the different kinds mushrooms you can lay your hands on. If you can only find button mushrooms, no problem, but it is funner (Phoebe-ism) if you can use more. Woolworths and P’nP stock quite a selection these days. I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea used these mushrooms:
juice of half a lemon
2 cloves of garlic – mashed
enough freshly grated parmesan/pecorino combo. (Delia Smith would insist on the very original Parmigianio Reggiano and Pecorino Romano)
freshly ground black pepper
Few drops of Black Truffle Aroma (Friend Cara Noir imported it from France and gave me some) OR Truffle infused oil.
Fresh Parsley (chopped)
An hour before the time heat the wine till very warm, but not boiling and soak the Porcini in the wine. After 1 hour drain, but keep the liquid.
Slice and sauté the button-, portabellini and shiitake mushrooms in butter and add the Porcini & Truffle oil. Saute the Enoki separately and only very briefly.
Keep the stock warm on the stove and a ladle handy. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan (medium-low heat). Add garlic and rice and stir till all the rice grains are covered and glistening. Add the liquor drained from the porcini. Stir continuously. As soon as most of the fluid has been absorbed by the rice, add a ladle of stock. Repeat the process till the rice is al dente (soft but firm). It should look creamy, but not mushy or watery. This should take about 20 minutes and you should have used most (if not all) of the stock. Add the Porcini, Portabellini, Shiitake mix
Add half of the pecorino/parmesan mix and give a good stir - serve the rest of the grated cheese at the table. Add a little black pepper, lemon juice and garnish with enoki mushrooms & parsley.
Risotto MUST go from stove to plate and be eaten immediately.
Risotto is actually a better dish on its own with a simple salad. I wouldn’t make it as a side again.