Revisiting an old standard – mushroom risotto

Not wanting meat or fish I wondered the aisles of the supermarket in search of inspiration.   Nothing. And then it came to me:  risotto.  But what kind?  The vegetables were uninspiring but I spied some lovely Portobello mushrooms and remembered I had a packet of dried wild mushrooms in my pantry.  Sorted.

It’s been a while since I made a mushroom risotto.  I think it’s one of those dishes that has gone out of fashion (risotto in general).  But it’s such an easy and tasty dish to make.  All you need to do is soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for a couple of hours.  The longer you soak them the stronger the flavour.  I soak them in about 2 cups of water and then I use the liquid as the basis of my stock for the risotto.

This time I finely chopped the Portobello mushrooms and also added some sliced dried shiitake (also soaked in some hot water) so that I had a variety of sizes, textures and of course, flavours.

The recipe is easy – in fact there is no recipe.  All you need to do is chop a brown onion and saute in some olive oil then add 1 cup aborio rice and stir to coat.  Add a handful of chopped Portobello and  pour in some warm stock (I had some vegetable stock I had made on the go).

Meanwhile I heat some olive oil and sauté the rest of the Portobello mushrooms with some thyme and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, just to brown and soften.  Remove these from the heat to add toward the end when the risotto is almost cooked.

Back to the risotto:  keep adding stock (which includes the wild mushroom liquid) and stir risotto occasionally and gently until it’s al dente.  Then add the soaked fungi, shiitake and browned Portobello. Stir in some butter, extra olive oil and you’re done.  Finally, add very finely shaved parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper.  So easy.  It’s a very rich dish so a good accompaniment is a salad of greens including rocket, beetroot leaves and radicchio.  Perfecto.

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