‘Risotto is an Italian dish of rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-based, fish-based, or vegetable-based; many kinds include parmesan cheese, butter, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy’ – or so says Wiki. But in most of the restaurants in Bangalore it looks and tastes more like Pongal – which is the biggest insult both to the humble pongal and the exquisite risotto! This is the reason that I religiously bypass the risotto in any restaurant menu here. I hadn’t seen anyone who could get the final product creamy but not gluggy and still have some bite to it…. Until I ate at Graze. Oh… my…. God!! It was like I died and went to heaven! So of course I begged the chef to tell me his secret. Let’s just say I now have the ingredient list! Ahem ahem…There arose the problem – the man was using truffle oil and pea sprouts and Enokitake mushrooms and all the wonderful, if not crazily expensive ingredients to make it taste the way it does!!! So could I replicate it at home? – Yes, but I’d have to lock and stalk my pantry 24/7 to safeguard these items. As this is feasible only in theory I begged him again to give me substitutes. This he gladly obliged, because now he knew, no matter how I try to replicate it at home, I’d have to come back to Graze for the original! (Clever man!) That said, this version is the closest you can get to heaven with your pockets not devoid of cash.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
What you need:
1 ½ cup Arborio Rice
300 gms mixed Mushrooms (Button, Oyster)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp Butter
4 Shallots, finely chopped
3 cups Chicken/ Veg Stock (kept hot) + 2 cups extra if required
½ cup grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp chopped Chives
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar with 2 cloves, ½ inch cinnamon, 4 peppercorns (reduced to 2 Tbsp)
What to do:
Wash the rice and drain. Brown each type of mushroom in batches in 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil. Remove. In the same pan add 2 Tbsp of Butter and sauté the shallots till soft but not colored. Toss in rice and stir to coat each grain with the butter so that the rice looks shiny. Pour in a ladle of hot stock. Wait for the rice to absorb it. Repeat the process till you have poured in about 3 cups of stock. Check to see if the rice is 80% cooked. (Smash a grain with your finger – there should be resistance but no hard bits). Now toss in the mushrooms and stir to incorporate. Put another ladle of stock if you feel the rice needs more cooking. Continue till you get the consistency of double cream. Take off the flame and add in the 2Tbsp of butter and Parmesan. Stir. Garnish with chopped chives, Dash of olive oil and the reduced balsamic vinegar. Eat up immediately!
P.S. For the Balsamic reduction – Heat the balsamic vinegar with cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns till the liquid reduces by half. Take it off the stove, strain and use as required. You can also do the same with some Port wine.