I usually make risotto with fresh mushrooms, but it's great to have those little packets of dried ones on hand when you don't have any fresh and you must, must have mushroom risotto for dinner. This recipe comes from a book called eat drink live that I found at Anthropologie. It was shortly before I left San Francisco, shopping with my friend Jamie. I spent so long salivating over the pictures in the book while she was trying on clothes that she ended up buying it for me. Sweet friend that she is. So often I meant to cook for her, but since she has always lived within delivery distance of some of San Francisco's best Chinese food our many dinners were ususally about wine, hot and sour soup, seaweed chicken and TiVo.
I love making risotto. It was one of the first things I learned to cook as an almost full-time babysitter of a very discerning two year old, many moons ago. It was her favorite thing to eat so I made it for her all the time. I'm sure it will make its appearance in different flavors many times over here, but here's one recipe:
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 oz dried mushrooms (chanterelle, morel, shiitake or porcini)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a bit extra, to serve
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put the stock and dried mushrooms in a saucepan and let soak for 10 minutes. Then slowly heat the stock to simmering point. Strain the mushrooms and return the stock to saucepan to keep hot.
2. Melt the oil and half the butter in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and cook over a medium heat until softened but not browned. Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated with butter and oil.
3. Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and mix well. When the rice has absorbed the liquid, add another ladle of stock and stir well. Repeat with the remaining stock, cooking the risotto for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces as necessary.
4. Add the soaked mushrooms, white wine or vermouth, the remaining butter, and the grated Parmesan to the risotto. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix gently over the heat for 2 minutes. Serve with a separate dish of the shaved or grated cheese to sprinkle over the top.