One of the reasons why Italian cooking is so popular, at least in my kitchen, is because most recipes require only a few main ingredients. For some occasions I do love to broaden my horizon and try out complicated recipes that will keep me hostage in the supermarket – sometimes it just takes ages to find ingredients of which you’ve never heard of before, not to mention the hours you spend with those ingredients later on in your kitchen.
But most of the time I prefer to keep it simple. Risotti are one of my favorite Friday night dishes. Shopping the ingredients will not take you any longer than your average blitz visit to the supermarket. Which is great because after a week of work you do not want to run a marathon with that shopping cart. Preparing the food will take some time, true, but you don’t have to worry about washing dishes late at night and getting up early the next day.
The original recipe for this risotto is from The Silver Spoon (risotto al barolo con funghi). Instead of the dried mushrooms suggested in the book, I used a variety of fresh mushrooms since they are easy to find this time around. I also added 1 more tomato and a bit less of the Barolo wine, simply because I only had one bottle and I wanted to make sure there would be enough left to drink along with the risotto.
Mushroom Barolo Risotto (4 servings): 400g risotto rice, 600g variety of mushrooms (pick any kind you like), 15cl Barolo, 1 garlic clove (finely chopped), 1 onion (finely chopped), rosemary, sage, basil, 5 tomatoes, 1,5l vegetable stock, flat-leaf parsley, Parmezan cheese, butter and olive oil.
Melt a good chunk of butter and olive oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic, rosemary, sage and basil. Make sure to keep heat low and stir occasionally.
Remove seeds from the tomatoes, chop and add to the onions. Leave to simmer at medium heat for about 20 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and leave for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the risotto rice and stir until the grains are all coated in oil and butter. Increase the heat on your pan to medium-high and add the wine. Cook until it has evaporated.
Start adding the vegetable stock, about 100ml at a time. Each time, stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, then add a new portion of stock. This whole process will take about 20 minutes. You don’t necessarily have to add stock until the last drop. I had some stock left when I decided that the rice was smooth and creamy enough. Adding more stock might have overcooked the risotto. So it’s up to you and your personal taste.
Before serving, cut some flat-leaf parsley and stir in the rice. Serve with the cheese. And don’t forget to drink the rest of that Barolo wine as you are enjoying your risotto!