Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Winter, or winner as I'm now calling it thanks to a helpful typo, is here! Historically, winter and I have a bit of a strained relationship, but this year I'm looking forward to focusing on all the good things about the season and will rejoice in the wearing of coats, scarves and boots and revel in stews, soups and hot, steamy drinks. The acquisition of several warm cardies is also helping immensely so far.

So to kick things off on a high note, let's talk risotto. It's a classic, winter favourite for all the right reasons: versatile, comforting, warming and nourishing. The other night I made it with mushrooms because they seem to have a very enduring love affair with risotto in my book but you can use just about anything - pumpkin, peas, pancetta, chicken and spinach are all firm friends with risotto as well.

Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from this recipe (incidentally, when you stumble across a recipe titled 'the infamous flickr mushroom risotto' you know it's going to be good)

200 grams Arborio rice
300 grams of brown mushrooms
a good dollop of olive oil
salt and pepper
1 litre of chicken stock
generous splash of dry white wine
25 grams of butter
a bundle of parsley, flat leaf
one leek
one garlic clove
about a tsp of grated lemon zest (my new favourite ingredient in just about everything)
as much Parmesan as you possibly dare using (I trust you'll know how much that is)

Thickly slice the mushrooms and chop the leeks finely. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Saute the leeks and once they're softened add all of the mushrooms. Cook for several minutes, adding extra oil if necessary.  Once mushrooms start to brown, add the rice and the salt and lower the heat slightly. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for a couple of minutes then add enough stock and wine to cover the mushrooms and rice and pop the lid on. Keep adding stock and stirring every now and again as the rice begins to absorb the liquid.

Once the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, add that Parmesan along with the butter and some pepper. Give it all a good stir and then serve with some chopped parsley and extra grated Parmesan.

There were second and possibly third helpings the other night but if you do have any leftover it does very well the next day too.


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