I recently signed up for Food and Wine magazine daily e-mails. I am signed up to a number of food-related mailing lists, most of which I don’t really pay a lot of attention to, so I normally wouldn’t even mention it, but I have to say that I am pretty impressed by their website. They have a lot of recipes, all with good pictures (which is something you annoyingly don’t often get from recipes in the New York Times), and organised into every category you could want to search (by ingredient, regional food, low fat, breakfast, quick meals etc.), and I have started to use these recipes a lot. This recipe is adapted from the Food and Wine Quick From Scratch Italian Cookbook, which can be found here on their website. It caught my eye because I have been attempting recently to cook things that use ingredients we already have in the kitchen. I happened to have arborio rice left over from last time I made risotto, dried porcini mushrooms from making porcini gnocchi, and goats cheese bought with the intention of making more mushroom and asparagus salad, so it was the obvious choice.
Dried Porcini and Goats Cheese Risotto
1 cup of dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups of water
3 1/2 cups of vegetable stock (if you are in Australia I recommend Massel stock cubes – which also means you won’t need to salt the risotto quite as much)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 cups of arborio rice
Ground black pepper
55g (2oz) goats cheese
28g (2 tablespoons) salted butter
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan, to serve
Note: I garnished with fresh oregano leaves, which I would not recommend as they overpowered the other flavours.
Begin by soaking the mushrooms in hot water (you can use near-boiling water out of the kettle). Leave them for 20 minutes or longer until they are soft. When the mushrooms are ready, pour the soaking liquid through a sieve in to a large saucepan (you want to hold on to the soaking liquid, but not the little pieces of grit that may have come from the mushrooms). Add 3 1/2 cups of stock to the soaking liquid and place on the stove to bring to a simmer. (Note: If you only have one large saucepan then just pour the soaking liquid and stock into a bowl and put to one side without bothering to simmer – you will need the saucepan for the rest of the meal).
Roughly chop the mushrooms, and chop the garlic and onions reasonably finely. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-low heat, and add the onion and garlic. Cook for around 5 minutes until the onion is soft and glassy, but not browned – if it is browning, turn the heat down. Add the chopped mushrooms, rice, two large pinches of salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the rice starts turning opaque.
Turn the heat up to medium and add half of the stock/mushroom soaking liquid to the rice, stirring constantly so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. When all the liquid is absorbed, continue to add more liquid, one ladle at a time, until it is absorbed. Make sure you continue to stir constantly. You will know it is ready by testing the rice – it will be pretty clear if it is underdone. It should take around 30 minutes for it to become fully soft. You may not end up using all the stock, or you may need a little extra. (If you do have some stock left over, and you are going to be having left overs, keep it in your fridge, and then add it to the rice when you are reheating on the stove to avoid it being too gluggy).
Take off the heat and mix in half the goats cheese and the butter. Just before serving, lightly mix through the other half of the goats cheese so it still retains little pieces. Sprinkle with parmesan, add some freshly ground black pepper, and serve.