Monday, January 19, 2009

Wild Mushroom Risotto

I know it's been a while since I've posted, and I know I've been slack on Top Chef recaps (sorry Katya!) but with the end of the marking period coming up as well as the beginning of the *last semester of graduate school*, I've been slightly busy.

So as those of you who keep track of this thing know, I made myself a big batch of chicken stock the other day. I had asked for some suggestions, and I only had one (thanks guys :-P) from Rob, who's blog you should all check out for some more food blogging and some awesome pictures.

He suggested risotto, which I'll admit I haven't made since before I met Stephanie. How ridiculous is that? Therefore, it was decided - I was going risotto alla Milanese which is risotto seasoned with saffron. However, with saffron being horrendously expensive ($16 for like a tsp) I decided to switch gears and go with a wild mushroom risotto. I also made a simple braised chicken breast, as Steph was hesitant on not having a protein, and I was glad to use some more of my stock in the braise and in the jus. However, the star of the show was the risotto.

Wild Mushroom Risotto (makes 4 servings, I scaled it down)
29 oz chicken stock (2 cans, but homemade is best)
1/2 dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
3 tbsp butter, cut into 1 tbsp portions
8 oz fresh mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, chanterelle...whatever you can get your hands on)
salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice (the ONLY rice you can use!)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

In a medium pot, combine the stock, the porcini and 4 cups of water. Bring it up to a boil, and cook the porcini until they are tender. Take them out with a slotted spoon, chop them and set them aside. Put the mushroom stock on low and cover it.

In a larger pot, heat 1 tbsp of butter over medium-high. Add the porcini and the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook while stirring continuously for 4 minutes or so. Dump them onto a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium low, add another portion of butter, melt it down, dump in the onions, season with salt & pepper, and let it sweat for 3 minutes. Pour in the rice, and stir for like a minute until all the grains are nice and coated with fat (this is called the tostatura). Dump in the wine and stir, stir, stir until the wine is mostly absorbed.

Now comes the tedious part. Ladle in a cup of your warm mushroom stock and stir, stir, stir until your stock is almost absorbed. Ladle in another cup and stir, stir, stir (are you sensing a pattern here?). Keep doing this until your stock is gone and your rice is al dente, and your rice is surrounded by a liquid that is the consistency of heavy cream. Take it off the heat, dump in the last portion of butter, the Parmesan and the mushrooms, stir, and serve. If you did everything right, your risotto will spread across the plate but not be liquidy around the edges. Even if you screwed it up, it's going to be delicious!

I'd have had pictures, but alas, the camera was upstairs. Next time, I swear!


Charli said...

Isn't turmeric a reasonable and more affordable substitute for saffron? BTW, Top Tomato sells small amounts of saffron for a reasonable price and they're opening one up in your neck of the woods.

Rob Timko said...

Just remember, a little saffron goes a looong way.

But...Mushroom risotto is just sooooo good!! Problem is, I go to whole foods and hit the mushroom section during mushroom season and end up with 30$ of mushroooms!! haha.