Text messages exchanged: So Friday... Do you like mushrooms? Response: I love mushrooms!
And here was born our mushroom risotto...
Risotto is one of my favourite things to make. It is such a fantastic canvas for a spectacular meal... with whatever you have in the fridge or with a long-sought ingredient.
Many mushroom risotto
1 cup Arborio rice
2 L (approximately) chicken stock
1 tablespoons butter
Splash of olive oil
2 small shallots
2-3 cloves garlic
300g mixed mushrooms (whatever you can get or want... we used Crimini, Oyster and white button)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
*splash of cream
In order to best keep your attention focused on drinking a glass of wine and hypnotically stirring the rice into risotto, it is easiest to chop and prep all components before starting. So, finely chop your shallots and garlic. Then chop your mushrooms (you can cut them into slices, quarters, whatever... the key is to try to keep them all similarly sized so that they all cook in the same time).
Warm the chicken stock in a pot on the stock. Set a wide, shallow pot (make sure this pot has a lid or you have a lid big enough to cover it) on the stove on a medium heat, in which you melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter with the splash of olive oil. (The oil stops the butter from burning..) Once melted, add your shallots and garlic. Let the shallots and garlic cook together and perfume the air.
Add in your rice and stir to coat the grains with the oils and aromatics. The rice will almost begin to open up and become slightly transluscent as well... ready to drink in the stock and whatever flavours you add.
Now, if you have it, great.. if not, it's not the end of the world. Add 1/2 cup of white wine to the rice mixture. Let that absorb, then begin to ladle in chicken stock, stir to absorb, ladle, stir, absorb, repeat... The rice will expand with the stock and become creamy. Just like pasta, you're looking for an "al dente" texture. Firm but tender to the bite. You don't want to make mushy mushroom risotto here. The key is to taste while you cook. It's the only way to know how to tweak and adjust your method to yield the perfect result.
When you've tasted the rice and it is still slightly crisp, add in another two ladlefuls of stock and all of your mushrooms. Stir together, then put the lid on the pot. The rice will continue to absorb the stock but not before the steam and heat has a chance to cook the mushrooms. Even though you're not stirring it constantly at this point, you'll want to keep a close eye on things to avoid overcooking. This part only takes a few minutes... but, again, taste to be sure!
(Now cover and steam!)
Add in your cheese, the splash of cream (a tablespoon or two) and that last 1/2 tablespoon of butter. If you have fresh (thyme would be really good) or dry herbs (I used, my favourite, herbes de provence - a mix of thyme, basil, lavender, fennel, etc...), this is the time to add them in.
Stir together and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Music... Here's a famous happy birthday dedication for ya. hahahha.