Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grilled Mushroom Risotto

Younger daughter and I are on our own again so it’s time to get back on the program of trying to eat healthier and more vegetarian.  That was tough when we ate out so much when Simon was here.  So our first evening’s meal was a mushroom risotto we had planned for a couple of weeks back, adapted from a recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Ingredients to serve two hungry people without a side dish – or two not so hungry people with a small bowl of leftovers for breakfast the next day

For the risotto
Approx. ½ liter/1 pint vegetable stock  (Make stock with vegetable stock paste or cubes and warm water or go all out and boil some vegetables. I used the stock paste.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
200g/7oz risotto rice (I used Arborio and I think it turned out creamer than my usual Carnaroli.)
½ glass of dry white wine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
42g/1½oz butter
56g/2oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the mushrooms
3 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thickly
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the mushrooms: Heat a griddle pan till it is scorching hot and then add a drizzle of olive oil.  Place the mushroom slices in the hot pan with enough space in between so that they actually grill and brown. Turn when golden and brown the other side.  Turn the heat down and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and the finely chopped garlic.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil and let the garlic cook until it is soft. Do not let it burn or it will be bitter. Remove from the hot pan and set aside to top the risotto.

For the risotto:. You want it to be smooth, creamy and oozy, not thick and stodgy.

Stage 1
In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the rice then turn up the heat.

Stage 2
The rice will begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

Stage 3
Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlesful of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Stage 4
Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for two minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.

Serve topped  with the grilled mushroom slices and another helping of freshly grated Parmesan.


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