One of my favourite meals of all time is mushroom risotto – what isn’t there to like? Rice… good, wine… good, cheese… good, mushrooms… yessss! If you have a well-stocked store cupboard it is also a pretty cheap meal too (I must admit I ALWAYS have parmesan in the fridge as I see it as an essential… apologies for the wankery).
Although quick, cheap and easy, physical exertion is an unfortunate necessity when making a risotto. The last ten minutes are as brutal as an HIIT class, surely? It does, however, make it feel like it’s all worth it when you wolf it down though… calorie counting is out the window.
Now an important note on stock. I have lots to say on the stock. I recommend keeping it in a saucepan over a very low heat whilst cooking the risotto. This will keep it at a good temperature, as cold stock can increase your cooking time which we definitely don’t want. In my opinion, chicken stock is best for this, but you can make it vegetarian if you need. Please avoid pork or beef stock, they are far too salty! You can also use mushroom stock – a rare find but worth the purchase. You also might need less or more stock than I advised in the ingredients list… I know this is annoying but that is the nature of making risotto I am afraid. When you have made up your litre I recommend refilling your kettle just in case you need more (have a friend on hand to make this because you will certainly be in a stirring frenzy when you realise it’s needed).
Recipe feeds 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: Roughly 20 minutes
1 small brown onion (or 2 french shallots if you are feeling fancy)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp of olive oil (divided into 2 spoons, plus some for drizzling at the end)
200g arborio rice
250g chestnut mushrooms
1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
100ml white wine
1l stock (vegetable or chicken, depending of your dietary choice)
A handful of grated parmesan
Limber up. Seriously. Some shoulder stretches will stand you in good stead.
Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil and the butter in a saucepan. Slice the chestnut mushrooms and place them in the saucepan, quickly stirring to coat them in the butter/oil mix. Add the oregano. Turn the heat down low and allow them to simmer in their lovely, mushroomy juices and place a lid over the pan to help them steam whilst you start the risotto. Remember to keep an eye on them and give them a stir every once in a while. If they are ready before the risotto rice it is fine to take them off the heat.
Finely chop your onion, and heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in at a medium heat. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, as this can help bring out the sweetness of the onions. Gently sweat the onions for 5 minutes, then adding the crushed garlic for 2, making sure it doesn’t burn.
Add in your rice, coating it with the onions, garlic and oil for 2 minutes. This is to help flavour the rice so you can get a fragrant risotto.
Turn the heat up to medium/high. Pour in the wine and give the risotto a stir, then leave it until the wine has reduced.
Add a ladle full of stock and stir. Allow this reduce until you can’t see much left and then add the next ladle. This is it. Just keep doing this until the rice completely slows it’s absorption and can’t take any more. This sounds all far too easy, however the last 5 to 10 minutes can put your poor, rice-stirring shoulders into shock if you don’t prepare, always follow step 1.
With the last ladle of stock, add half of the mushrooms and stir them through the rice so they are evenly incorporated. Turn off the heat and stir through the parmesan cheese, and taste for seasoning (usually a pinch of salt at this point).
Portion out into two bowls, and scatter the remaining mushrooms on top. Drizzle with some olive oil, and grind on some black pepper (and more parmesan if you like… I certainly can’t help myself).
Devour with the left over wine… I am assuming you bought a whole bottle, right?