You’d think I’d grow tired of cooking and eating something so basic as Wild Mushroom Risotto but let me tell you this is far from the truth. I think the most basic of foods can often be the best.
I’ve made many a risotto over the years but this one has to beat them all. The wild mushrooms come from the amazing J. Shaw & Son our local fruit and veg supplier who have been one of the saviours of lockdown and who I would never have discovered if it hadn’t have been for our wonderful friends over at The Railway Tavern, our local pub. If you’re local to me here in Lincolnshire, count yourselves very lucky.
A lot of people think wild mushroom risotto making can be tedious but actually I find the continual stirring quite meditative and this helps me unwind after a stressful day. There’s something so simple about the repetitive nature of stirring, then adding stock, then stirring again that calms me down. Plus you’re then rewarded at the end with the most glorious and luscious dish that is in fact an utter breeze to make.
I’m starting by sautéing the mushrooms with a little onion. Most of the mushrooms will stay in the pan as I add the rice but I remove a few just to add in at the end for colour and texture.
- 1 medium onion – finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic – grated or crushed
- 250g mixed wild mushrooms – some sliced, some left whole.
- 300g risotto rice – I favour arborio rice
- 1 glass (175ml) white wine
- a shot of vermouth or pernod
- 1 litre vegetable stock – you probably won’t use all of this amount but it’s good to have
- 100g parmesan or strong cheddar
- a little knob of butter
I’m using my large shallow cast-iron casserole dish but any large pot will work. You want a medium heat for a risotto.
Start by melting a little nob of butter and some olive oil in a pan and once it’s nicely hot throw in the onion and let them sauté gently for a few minutes and as they begin to soften stir in the garlic. It’s better too have the heat lower so nothing burns. It will take about 5 mins until you can add the mushrooms.
Stir in the mushrooms. Mushrooms are slightly odd to sauté. Again, they should start on a gentle heat but they will soak up all the oil and butter but if you’re patient with them they will release the moister again and become golden. Just give them time, low and slow. Halfway through add plenty of freshly ground pepper. Once they’re cooked to how you like them, take half of them out and set aside.
Throw in the rice and stir well, then add the wine and Pernod and stir until the liquid has gone. Now add the stock, a ladle-full at a time, stirring well in between each addition until the liquid is soaked into the rice. The rice will start to swell and become creamy. The dish will never be dry, it will always have a certain amount of creamy liquid.
The dish is ready once the rice is cooked. Slightly al dente is how I like it. You may not have used all the liquid. Stir in the grated cheese and a nob of butter. Scatter the remaining mushrooms on top. Let it sit for about 5 mins before serving.
Eat and of course, enjoy!