There are two quintessential risotti, mushroom risotto and saffron risotto. I feel nothing can combine and wrap up all the best qualities of a good risotto like a mushroom risotto. The earthiness of the mushrooms, the sharpness of the Parmesan, the soulfulness of the stock and the creamy starchiness of the actual rice; a complete and wholesome meal in a single dish. Risottos(i) are quite easy to execute, the main keys to success are ensuring that the stock used is of super quality, and when to take the rice off the heat. The rice needs to be nice and cooked, not chalky at all, while having some but to it, not a mushy mess. A good thing to remember is to use hot stock, if the stock is cold, the actual rice grains won’t be cooked properly, the outside of the grain will be overcooked and the center of the grain would be hard and chalky. Keep those few tips in mind and you’ll be sure to make a home-run risotto.
500g of Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 medium onion finely chopped
1.2L of excellent quality chicken stick (preferably home-made), make sure it’s hot (use vegetable stock for vegetarian)
1/2 cup of white wine
500g of button mushroom, sliced
1 tbsp of sour cream
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup of toasted pine-nuts for garnish
2 tbsp of butter
Leaves of two sprigs of thyme
Olive oil, salt and pepper
In a medium pan, heat up 1 tbsp of butter and a lug of olive oil on a medium high heat, once the butter melts and bubbles, add half the mushrooms and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper and cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms brown, about 10 minutes. Reserve the mushrooms on the side.
In a pot, heat up the butter, another lug of olive oil and add the onions when the butter melts, keep stirring until the onions soften but don’t color, a few minutes. Add the rice and toast, stirring around for a few minutes, making sure that the onions don’t burn. After a couple of minutes, add the mushrooms and wine, and stir until the wine gets incorporated. Once the wine is absorbed, add the stock by the ladle, making sure that the first addition of stock is about 2 or three 3 ladle-fulls. Stir the rice constantly and keep adding stock as it gets absorbed. About 12-14minutes in, test a teaspoon of rice for done-ness, it should be close, add the Parmesan, the reserved mushrooms and the sour cream, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the final ladle or two of stock until the rice is cooked correctly, making sure that you serve the rice when it’s wetter than you think it should be.
Garnish with pine-nuts, Parmesan and good quality Extra-Virgin olive oil. Enjoy!