So welcome to the first of a new weekly column under the title of Playing with Food, to be published here on In Good Taste every Sunday. The intention is to fill the column not with just reviews or recipes, but to go beyond.
Over the coming weeks and months the column will cover everything from foods I come across on my travels and taste tests to find the best shop bought ready made foods, to attempting to make products most would stay clear of, such as Spam, taste good as a main ingredient, and even some of the more exotic, or just plain strange, recipes found in my collection of antique cookbooks.
So, if you’d like to know how to prepare a 100lb turtle, keep reading in the weeks to come. In short, this column is all about having fun with food. I hope you enjoy it.
Indulgent Wild Mushroom Risotto
For this first column I thought I’d do a recipe and, given its October and the weather is turning to the autumnal, something hearty and seasonal seems to be in order, which can only mean one thing: a wild mushroom risotto.
For the last four years I have been trying to create the ultimate wild mushroom risotto, based on the flavours of Anton Mosimann’s signature dish. Finally I think I’ve perfected it though, as you’ll appreciate from the list of ingredients, it’s called ‘indulgent’ for a reason.
I appreciate that this may be stating the obvious to some readers but it’s worth making a few points before going into the recipe.
- 85-90g of rice per person is more than enough for a main course serving; it doesn’t look much but it will swell to at least 3 times the volume during cooking.
- To clean the fresh mushrooms just wipe them with a piece of dry kitchen paper. Never wash them with water as they soak it up like a sponge and release the liquid during cooking, making everything watery.
- Keep stirring the rice to release the starch in it. It’s the starch that binds the risotto together.
- You’ll need approximately 250ml of stock per 85g of rice though sometimes you may need more or less depending on how the cooking goes.
You can make a simpler version of this recipe by not using the dried porcini and the stock made from them and just using chicken stock. The three forms of truffle can be dispensed with too but, if you can get a small bottle of white truffle oil – it costs about £6.20 from a good Italian delicatessen – do, as you’ll find it makes all the difference as a way to heighten the flavour not just of this risotto but of many pasta dishes.
- 50g Butter
- 1 Onion
- 3 Garlic cloves
- Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon Thyme
- 170g Arborio Rice
- 150g Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 300-400g Mixture of Chestnut and Wild Mushrooms
- 2-3 large handfuls grated Parmesan
- 500ml Chicken Stock
- 2-3 teaspoons White Truffle Oil
- 2 teaspoons Porcini and White Truffle Cream
- 2 teaspoons Chopped Truffles in Oil
- Start by placing a sieve over a bowl, put the dried porcini in the sieve and pour over boiling water until it comes the top of the mushrooms (see gallery below). Leave to soak for at least 1 hour to make the porcini stock. After an hour, lift the sieve with the mushrooms out of the bowl so as to drain the liquid in them back into the bowl. Then turn out the porcinis onto a board, chop roughly and set aside to use later.
- Dice the onion and thinly slice the garlic. Then clean and slice the mushrooms.
- Melt the butter in a heavy based frying pan. As it starts to bubble, add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and fry on a medium heat until the onion is soft, taking care that it doesn’t start to brown.
- Once the onion is soft, add the rice and mix through to coat it with the butter.
- Add a ladle of the porcini stock to the rice and stir until the liquid has all been absorbed, then add a ladle of chicken stock and again stir until the stock has been absorbed.
- Keep repeating the previous step until the rice is cooked. You will know that it is cooked when it still has a slight bite to the centre though, if it’s chalky or sticks to your teeth, its still not cooked. As the risotto cooks and increases in size with the absorption of the liquid by the rice, it will become thicker and tougher to stir (it can be quite a workout).
- Once the rice is cooked, add the chopped porcini set aside from making the stock and stir it through the rice. Then add the other mushrooms and mix them in. Leave to cook on a low heat for a few minutes until the mushrooms are cooked.
- Once the mushrooms are cooked, turn off the heat and stir in all the parmesan until it is evenly distributed and melted in. Now add the porcini and white truffle cream, chopped truffles in oil and white truffle oil, and mix in.
- To serve, spoon the risotto onto plates (the deeper the better), drizzle with some olive oil and a little more white truffle oil if you want. Finally, grate a little more parmesan over and serve.
I hope you enjoy it