Or, posh oven-baked mushroom risotto!
I noticed that the wild mushroom crop is emerging in our local woodland as I crunched through the early autumn leaves at the weekend. I’m not a confident forager, and I urge anyone who does to take proper advice when it comes to fungi like these guys at Wild Food UK, but it did get me thinking about making a tasty mushroom risotto for supper. So, I ‘foraged’ these exotic looking beauties from my local Waitrose and got to work. The more observant amongst you will notice that these are not native species but they do make a very fine risotto! I usually make a traditional ‘stirred’ risotto but this one is my contemporary adaptation of a Delia Smith oven baked risotto recipe from the ’90’s called an ‘arrosto’. It serves 3 as a main course or six as a starter.
You will need…
- 10g dried porcini mushrooms
- 600ml of stock made with the dried porcini, 60 ml dry Madeira and a concentrated chicken stock pot (I used Kents Kitchen pots but Knorr also make them)
- 300g mixed fresh mushrooms, chopped into halves or quarters spending on the type of mushroom – I used the exotic selection ones in the photo from Waitrose but you can just as easily use the more readily available chestnut mushrooms
- 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 175g Italian risotto rice – arborio or canaroli
- 60g butter
- 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and black pepper
- Optional: a little finely chopped fresh parsley to serve or a couple of drops of white truffle oil
This may look like a lot of steps but it takes no more than about an hour and 15 minutes to make in total, so long as you get the porcini mushrooms soaking while you prep everything else. Oven time is just 35 minutes.
- Soak the porcini in a bowl with 600ml of boiling water for about half an hour until they are soft and reconstituted.
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Butter an oven proof dish (about 1.5 litre capacity, no more than about 5cm deep).
- When the porcini are ready, line a fine sieve with kitchen roll and place it over another bowl or a Pyrex jug. Strain the porcini and their liquid through the lined sieve and then tip the porcini out of the kitchen roll onto a chopping board. Chop them finely. The kitchen roll will have trapped any fine grit from the porcini so you can just throw it away.
- Make the stock up to 600ml with the Madeira, a little more hot water if necessary, and the chicken stock pot. Stir thoroughly.
- Melt 50g of the butter in a medium fry pan, add the chopped onion and cook until soft for about 5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic, the chopped porcini and 2/3rds of the fresh mushrooms. I reserve a few of the fresh ones to garnish before serving. Let the mushrooms and onions sweat in the butter and release their juices for another 10 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, put the baking dish in the oven to warm.
- Add the rice, give it a good coating of butter and then add the stock. Taste it for seasoning – add a little salt if it needs it (depends on the stock pot you use) and a few generous twists of black pepper. Bring it up to simmering point and stir it once.
- Place it on the centre shelf of the oven, uncovered and set the timer to 20 minutes exactly. I use the timer on my iPhone – it’s far more reliable than my actual cooking timer!
- After 20 minutes, remove from the oven, stir in the Parmesan and give it another 15 minutes in the oven.
- Get your plates warm and warn whoever else is eating that it’s nearly ready – a good risotto needs to be eaten as soon as possible once cooked. The risotto rice will continue to absorb the stock if you leave it and will taste stodgy rather than creamy otherwise.
- Just before the risotto comes out of the oven, sauté the rest of the fresh mushrooms in the remaining 10g of butter to top the cooked risotto. I reserved the big eryngii mushroom from my selection for this (see below) and it was fantastic.
- Serve the risotto on hot plates topped with the freshly sautéed mushrooms (it’s optional, but you could also top with a little finely chopped parsley or a few drops of white truffle oil).
- This was the perfect accompaniment to a Saturday night TV fest of #Strictly and a cheeky glass of red.