I like risotto
When I was a kid, if Mum said it was Dad’s turn to cook then that meant one of two things - either take out from the local fish and chip shop, or packet ‘chinese’ flavoured risotto made with stir fried pork and this eggy omelette thing he made. I actually enjoyed it, and the combination fed me most of the way through university.
I’ve grown up since then, and now make the real stuff.
Making risotto has got to be one of the best therapy sessions out there. All that chopping, and then stirring slowly for ages - it makes me happy.
Usually I make a chicken, chorizo and mushroom risotto, using a base recipe I got from who knows where and who knows when. Once you’ve got the base recipe down, you can adapt away.
I made a few changes, basically because of what I had in stock and to make it every so slightly healthier (read: not really that much healthier).
People, I bring you bacon and mushroom risotto.
250g streaky bacon
10g dried porcini (the initial recipe said 30g, but I only brought 10g and to be honest, it was quite mushroomy so I wouldn’t add any more!)
1 c chicken stock, boiling
2 T butter
1 onion, finely diced
230g mushrooms, sliced (whatever mix you want, we just used standard supermarket white buttons and portobello, but use oyster and shitake if you have ‘em/so desire)
3 cloves garlic (recipe said two, but really, you can never have too much garlic)
1 t thyme
1 c arborio rice
1/2 c white wine
3 c chicken stock, warmed (recipe says 1 but I find I always go through way more)
1 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan to top (recipe said stir through 1/2 c before serving - this was my concession at making it slightly healthier - but still delicious)
The recipe also said to season with 1/4 t truffle oil and a handful of parsley before serving, but I omitted these.
Cut up the bacon (use scissors folks, way easier) and fry it all up. Remove onto a paper towel covered plate and set aside. Don’t wash the pan. You’ll use it to make risotto and it will help pick up a bit of bacon flavour.
Cover the dried porcini’s with the boiling chicken stock and set aside for 20-30 minutes. It’s a bit stinky at this stage, but don’t worry, it won’t taste anything like that!
Melt the first measure of butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, but without browning - about 5-7 minutes.
Add the fresh mushrooms and saute until they’re nice and tender and juicy. It takes about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until all you can smell is garlic and thyme. Drool a little. This will take about a minute.
Around now your porcini’s will have done their time, so spoon ‘em out, drain (I used a sieve over the bowl) and slice. Reserve the stock/liquid they were soaking in, and add this to a pot with the other measure of chicken stock and keep warm over a low heat. Add your porcini’s to the risotto pan.
Add the rice and toast for 1-3 minutes until it goes a bit clear. Now add the wine and get all the goodness of the bottom of the pan. Stir until it’s all been soaked up.
Now it’s time to start adding the stock. Do this sloooooowwly to ensure a nice creamy risotto. Add 1/2 a cup at a time and don’t add more until the last lot has been soaked up. This will take 20-30 minutes.
Once it’s looking good and you’ve tried a bit of the rice to make sure it’s all cooked and stuff, add the butter (and parmesan if you’re adding it) and stir through until it’s all melted. Season with salt and pepper and top with a little bit of parmesan.
I found this recipe made four modest serves (two good amounts for dins, two smaller serves for lunch).
What’s your fave risotto combination?