Let’s face it – porcini mushrooms are expensive. It’s not something that finds its way into my grocery list AT ALL. But there are odd days (when the salary account has been credited) that one is inclined to feel generous. So I picked up a teeny tiny bottle of it for half a thousand rupees. When coming up with an idea to use it judiciously – a Porcini Mushroom Risotto was a no brainer. The mushrooms would lend themselves nicely to being slowly rehydrated while cooking the risotto and the flavor and color would permeate the stock. And to be fair, just half a cup of Porcini mushrooms is more than enough to make that risotto praise worthy.
Cooking risotto is like barbequing something – you have to hang around. The stock has to be poured in ladle by ladle while the rice absorbs the liquid and gets plump. And you need to use your intuition and your tasting spoon to know when it’s ready. Lucky for you, I use a fail-safe risotto recipe that has consistently given me perfectly cooked risotto time and again. If you want a grain that holds its shape, is glossy, creamy and luxurious – you’ve come to the right place.
Porcini Mushroom Risotto
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
What you need:
2 Cups Risotto Rice (Arborio/ Carnaroli – I prefer the latter)
½ cup Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1.25 Litre/ 5 cups Chicken/ Vegetable Stock (keep warm)
2 tsp Olive Oil
¼ cup Butter
1 Onion, finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
¾ cup Dry white wine
75 gms Freshly Grated Parmesan
2 Tbsps freshly grated Parmesan to serve
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
What to do:
Heat the stock in a pan, and leave on simmer till needed. Drop the Porcini mushrooms in the stock and let them sit in the liquid.
Rinse the rice once in cold water and drain.
Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a large pan and gently saute the chopped onion and crushed garlic for 5-6 mins or until soft. Toss in the rinsed rice and stir to coat all the grains in the oil. You will notice the grains becoming slightly translucent around the edges. Lift the porcini mushrooms from the stock in a slotted spoon and add to the rice. Now pour in the white wine and cook until it has been absorbed. Keep the flame medium to low for the rest of the cooking process.
Add a ladle full of hot stock now. Cook stirring until all the stock has been absorbed. Gradually add in the remaining stock, a ladle at a time and wait till it has been absorbed by the rice before repeating the process. Halfway through the stock – the rice will be 50% cooked. Now add in the half the Parmesan cheese and continue adding the stock a ladle at a time. Keep stirring.
When the risotto is creamy and the grains are still tender but al dente (I actually bit into a grain of rice to see that the center had an uncooked dot – perfection) add in the remaining butter and parmesan. This is where the grains get all dreamy and glossy. Now season with salt and pepper and remove the pan from the heat. Cover and leave for 3-4 mins before serving.
Top with some more Parmesan and chives and you have yourself an absolutely five-star worthy main course.