I love trying a new ingredient and seeing what culinary magic I can make with it. This week, I bought a jar of Porcini Mushroom Paste from the Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients range (£2.49 for a 90g jar). A couple of teaspoons stirred into a little cream, a dash of white wine, some crushed garlic and sautéed chestnut mushrooms, it makes a quick and tasty pasta sauce. A teaspoon stirred into a stew gives it a lovely earthy background flavour as it has a little added truffle oil; it really worked wonders in this smoked bacon and Porcini mushroom risotto.
You will need…
- A small pack of chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and finely sliced
- 3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
- 20g Dried porcini, soaked in hot water, drained (reserve and strain the liquid) and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1.25 litres of stock – ham or chicken, heated
- 40g butter
- 2 dessertspoons of rapeseed oil
- 225g Arborio risotto rice
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, destrung and finely chopped. Chopped leaves for garnish.
- 2 tablespoons of Madeira
- 1 dessertspoon of Noilly Prat or dry white wine
- 50g grated Parmesan
- Teaspoon of Waitrose porcini mushroom paste with truffle oil
- Prep all the ingredients before you start: chop the mushrooms, grate the Parmesan etc. Put the stock on to warm up.
- Heat half the butter and half the oil in a heavy based sauté pan. Fry the mushrooms until golden, take them out of the pan and set aside.
- Add the rest of the oil and butter, then the bacon and fry for a few minutes, then add the chopped onion, celery and garlic and sweat gently for about 5 minutes. Add the rice and coat all the grains with the oil and butter.
- Add the white wine or Noilly Prat, stir and then add a ladle of the hot stock and the Madeira. Add the chopped porcini and the reserved soaking stock.
- Keep stirring and gradually adding the stock. This will take about 20 minutes. The constant stirring is what makes the risotto creamy so it’s important to keep at it. Put some music on! Keep going until the stock is used up and/or the risotto is cooked through but with a little bite still left. I like my risotto to be a little runny not stodgy. Add a little more hot water if you run out of stock.
- Stir in the Parmesan, the porcini paste and the fried chestnut mushrooms.
- Check the seasoning. The stock and the cheese may be quite salty so be careful not to add any more salt until the end. Add a few twists of the pepper mill to finish.
- Serve on warm plates, finish with finely chopped celery leaves and grated Parmesan.