Wild mushroom and lemon risotto
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
30g dried mushrooms
1.5L chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups of Arborio rice
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme (or just thyme if you can’t get your hands on the lemon variety)
1 cup white wine (Chardonnay or Chenin blanc)
150g mushrooms (exotic rather than brown or white)
50g butter (at room temperature)
100g Parmesan, grated
1. Soak the dried mushrooms in a your chicken stock (warm but not hot) for 30 minutes to release their flavour and allow them to swell back to their original size.
2. When you are ready to cook your risotto, bring the stock to a gentle simmer. In a separate heavy-based pot on medium heat (6-7 out of 10), heat the olive oil and butter before adding the onions and sautéing for approximately 6 minutes until they are translucent.
3. Add your rice, lemon zest (not juice) and thyme to your onion mix and stir to ensure that all the grains are well coated in the olive oil and butter. Cook for 2 minutes.
4. Warm the wine a little before adding (room temperature should be okay but not out of the fridge) and stir through the rice until the wine has been absorbed.
5. Now add the stock, 1 ladle at a time (including the dried mushrooms that have now swelled in the stock), stirring frequently until most of it has been absorbed before adding the next ladle. Continue adding the stock ladle-by-ladle until the rice is ‘al dente’. In the same way that you check pasta, your risotto should have a slight bite but be cooked through – this will take approximately 20 minutes but taste it after about 15 minutes to check.
6. Just before it’s ready, in a separate pan, cook the mushrooms in a little olive oil on high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice to the mushrooms and stir through for 2 more minutes.
7. When the risotto is cooked through and ‘oozy’ you want to remove it from the heat and add the mushrooms, Parmesan and butter. Stir through and put the lid on, allowing it to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
With a little technique and practice, the perfect risotto is within your grasp.