I used to help in our family restaurant. I love good food and enjoy thinking up creative ways to cook and use leftovers to avoid food waste.
This Risotto Is Easy Enough for Beginners!
I will show you here how to make this cheap and healthy meal which is really tasty. Risotto, which means "rice, in Italian, is a traditional Italian dish, and you will learn here a method for cooking rice the Italian way. Traditionally, porcini mushrooms are used for this recipe, as they have a strong flavour. You can buy dried porcini in packets if you can't find the fresh mushrooms, or you can substitute other mushrooms. The other main ingredient is goats milk cheese, which also has a very pungent flavour. If it is too strong for you, just use a substitute.
Believe it or not, I had never tasted risotto until very recently, when my daughter tried out a mushroom risotto recipe whilst I was in her kitchen. I thought it would be bland and that I wouldn't like it, but how wrong I was—it was surprisingly delicious.
Once I know roughly how something will taste, I improvise with my own recipe, and find that near-approximations work quite well. That's what makes this mushroom risotto recipe so easy.
Porcini mushrooms and goats milk cheese may seem expensive, but because they are strongly flavoured, you don't need a lot, so this is in fact quite an inexpensive meal, as well as being nutritious.
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Note: Quantities for this risotto are not vital—just use what you have.
- 4 cups risotto rice (the most suitable alternative would be paella rice, but otherwise you could use any rice you have available, but it works best with a rice which gives a sticky subsistency)
- 2 ozs dried porcini mushrooms (but any other mushrooms, dried or fresh, would do instead of or in addition to porcini mushrooms, which taste quite strong; even a tin of condensed mushroom soup would work)
- 1/2 onion, chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 big blob of butter (1/4 oz.)
- 2 teaspoons fresh coriander leaves (or other herbs if preferred)
- 1 oz. goats milk cheese
- 1 oz Greek-style yogurt or cream
- 1 clove
- A sprinkle of nutmeg or mace
- 1 chicken or vegetable boullion cube
- 8 cups water (or 2 cups for each 1 cup of rice)
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- Fry the onion in the olive oil till golden brown.
- Add the garlic.
- Add the butter and melt it.
- Add the rice and gently fry and stir it till all the rice grains are coated with butter and oil.
- Add the boiling water.
- Add the mushrooms, chicken or vegetable boullion, spices, and any herbs except the coriander—you can vary these according to your taste.
- Gently simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until very soft. If it looks as though the rice has absorbed all the water, add a little more, so that ultimately the texture is a slightly wet, sticky, glutinous mass. It should not be dry like usual boiled rice.
- Add the goats milk cheese, and either yogurt (healthy) or cream (richer and naughtier) and stir until the cheese has melted.
- Just before you serve the mushroom risotto, add the chopped coriander (coriander is best when not cooked a lot).
- Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese (optional).
Note: You probably won't need salt, as the boullion is salty. Use salt sparingly, if at all.
You Can Buy Dried Mushrooms Online
It's very useful to keep a packet or bottle of dried mushrooms in your store cupboard, so that you can make your mushroom risotto whenever you have a little left-over rice. It means you don't have to worry about keeping a store of fresh mushrooms, which go off quickly, when you decide on the spur of the moment to cook your mushroom risotto.
If you want a bit of luxury, try dried Italian porcini mushroomsfrom Amazon. They have a good strong flavour, so you don't need to use a lot, and you can keep some back for later use.
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A Popular YouTube Video About Italian Risotto: Fantastico!
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