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Mushroom and Chestnut risotto

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Mushroom and Chestnut risotto

I love making risotto, when most of the work is done you just have to stand there and push it around a bit (I don't sign up to the continuous stirring), so it's very easy to keep a glass of wine in your other hand.

Serves four
250g fresh mushrooms (the more interesting the better)
100g chestnuts, peeled and roughly chopped in big pieces
40g dried porcini
400g risotto rice (arborio is good, but there are others)
one glass of vermouth or white wine (plus extra for you)
50g butter
grated parmesan
good extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh parsley to serve

First, make your stock. Simply simmer the dried porcini in a litre and a half of water for 20 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the fresh mushrooms, clean if necessary and slice into half centimetre slices.
Heat a generous gulp of olive oil into your large frying pan and when it is quite hot add the mushrooms. Fry them off until they are coloured, but not completely cooked.
If all the oil has been soaked up by the mushrooms, add some more, then add the rice. Stir so that each rice grain is coated with the oil and cook for a couple of minutes until the rice is turning opaque - NOT brown.
Add the glass of vermouth or white wine to the pan. It will hiss and quickly evaporate, leaving a wonderful smell and flavour. Then add a ladleful of broth from the dried porcini stock and stir. Continue cooking, adding the stock a ladle at a time when it is needed. You want the rice to have moisture available so that it can cook and expand, but not so much that it is soup. Stir gently when needed to ensure that all the rice is in the stock and evenly cooked. If you like your risotto creamier then stir more vigorously as this will break up surface of the rice and make it more sticky.
In another frying pan, melt 25g butter with a little olive oil and fry the chestnuts until they are lightly browned.
When the rice is almost cooked, regulate the amount of stock you add so that there is not too much stock in the pan at the end. A little "juice" is fine, but you don't want the rice swimming. Add the porcini mushrooms from the stock pot into the risotto and season with salt and pepper.
When the rice is cooked "al dente", turn off the heat and add 25g butter and a little extra drizzle of olive oil. Add the chestnuts and stir through to distribute evenly.
Serve with extra parmesan and olive oil, sprinkled with a little chopped fresh parsley.

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