Risotto with porcini

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Linda, the personable young woman from Rock Ferry who runs the Barrow branch of Julian Graves, gave me some bad news this week. The Everything Half Price sale which has prevailed in this branch only for the last six months is coming to an end. Of course, this may be good news in some ways. It should, for example, put a damper on my addiction to dried figs, dried apricots, and the sublime Cranberry Sensation mix. On the other hand, it means an end to the supply of cheap porcini mushrooms.

We don’t appreciate fungi in this country. Me, I give a wide berth to the flabby and tasteless cultivated mushrooms of supermarkets and greengrocers across the land. I’ll happily use freshly-picked field mushrooms when I can get them. But it takes Italians to appreciate the delights of things like porcini (ceps), which I first saw in abundance in an open-air market in Perugia many years ago. Anyway, dried porcini beat supermarket mushrooms hands down. It’s just that they are a tad too expensive for mushroom risotto to be a regular feature of dinner for one. Unless, of course, a shop is selling them half price for long periods. So, it’s risotto again for my tea. And this, as Jimmy Young used to say, is what you do:

You need

25 g dried porcini
3 shallots
1 clove garlic
150 g arborio rice
500 ml vegetable stock
slosh of dry white wine
25 g freshly-grated Parmesan
handful parsley
handful basil
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the porcini in 150 ml boiling water. Meanwhile finely chop the shallots and the garlic.

Bring the stock to the boil and then leave it just below simmering point.

Melt a knob of butter and some olive oil in a medium saucepan. Fry the onions and garlic gently for five minutes. Add the rice and cook for two more minutes.

Drain the mushrooms, retaining the liquid they have been soaked in. Add a ladleful of stock to the rice and stir. When it has almost been absorbed, add the mushrooms, the reserved mushroom water and the wine, and cook until almost absorbed.

Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time when the last lot has been almost absorbed. Stir after each addition. Repeat until the rice is tender.

Stir in the parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt and pepper and serve immediately.


One Response to “Risotto with porcini”

  1. Ashtonian Says:

    The only one I could find was for £1.75 on eBay
    only problem, it’s for a dolls house.
    The other are hundreds.
    My mum never used scales, she just knew.
    Best food in the world

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