Porcini mushroom risotto
Serves 4 people as a main, or 6-8 people as a starter.
- Soak the porcini mushrooms in the hot water in a heatproof jug for a good 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, and gently cook the onions until soft but not brown.
- When the porcini have soaked fully, carefully pick them out of the soaking liquid and give them a quick rinse under running water, to remove any remaining grit.
- Chop the soaked porcini mushrooms into small pieces and add to the pan with the onions, frying gently for a few minutes.
- Very carefully pour the porcini liquid into a new saucepan, making sure not to disturb or include any of the sediment at the bottom of the original jug as this will contain grit. Put the saucepan on to a low heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the risotto rice to the onion/mushroom pan and mix in the oil over the heat for a couple of minutes until the rice goes a slightly pearlescent colour.
- Add the 200ml of dry white wine to the risotto rice and stir for a couple of minutes over the heat while it is absorbed by the rice. Add the thyme leaves and stir through.
- Once the wine is absorbed by the rice, start adding the hot porcini soaking liquid, about 250ml at a time. Each time, stir until it is almost completely absorbed before adding the next batch.
- You need to keep stirring so the liquid is distributed through the rice, and to stop it sticking to the bottom. If you run out of porcini soaking liquid before the risotto rice is cooked simply boil the kettle and add some boiling water instead.
- Cooking the risotto rice will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on your rice, and the heat. Test to see when it is done – you want a tiny bit of bite left in it , not soggy and overcooked.
- Use the ladle to serve the risotto into pre-warmed bowls.
- I like to serve it with white wine and a dish of freshly shaved/grated parmesan cheese for guests to help themselves to. However parmesan is not vegetarian. To keep the dish vegetarian choose a similar hard cheese made with vegetarian rennet.
- You could instead use 15g porcini soaked in 400ml hot water, and then add 400g fresh small brown mushrooms (sliced) before adding the rice. You will also need about 800ml hot vegetable stock (home-made or from a cube) to add to the porcini soaking liquid.
- Some porcini have more grit than others. If you can see a lot of grit in your porcini soaking liquid, you could strain the liquid through a coffee filter paper, or a (completely new and unused) J-cloth.
- If you are cooking a porcini dish which doesn’t include the soaking liquid in the finished dish, use room temperature water to soak them (not hot water), so all the flavour stays in the porcini.