When my sister Elles lived in Sydney, she used to always have Chinese containers full of leftover risotto in her freezer. Whenever I’d head to the big smoke to go out for a night on the town, Jez and Elle would kindly let me crash at theirs. Oh how good was a steaming hot serve of that risotto, microwaved by an impatient, hungry and slightly swaying older sister, after I’d walked in from the pub in the wee hours of the morning.
Elles’ specialty was chicken risotto with roasted sweet potato and peas, which I’ve made ever since those nights in Woollahra. Back in a time where late nights out with friends in Sydney were a lot more frequent.
Granted, risotto is a little time consuming as you need to constantly stir the rice whilst adding the stock, but I find it quite relaxing, glass of wine in one hand, wooden spoon in the other. A Sunday night whilst the girls are lying on the floor under their makeshift cubby, watching Shaun the sheep with Cork Daddy is the perfect time for me to make this deliciously oozy risotto. It’s so tasty and comforting and goes down really nicely with a glass of crisp white wine.
So here I am reminiscing on the good ol’ days. A day where you used to be able to order a drink in Kings Cross after midnight. I’ll be forever grateful for that late night risotto Elles Belles. If only it was as easy for me to come and crash on your couch now.
If only London was that little bit closer to Wagga.
mushroom risotto (serves 2 adults with leftovers for lunch the next day)
300 grams of Arborio rice (risotto rice)
350 grams of mushrooms (a mixture of Swiss brown, Portobello, Shitake, Enokitake or Chanterelle; sliced and Enokitake’s left whole)
1 x brown onion, finely diced
2 x sticks of celery, finely diced
2 x garlic cloves, finely sliced
8 x sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and stalks discarded
1 x cup of white wine
6 x cups of vegetable stock
Two knobs of butter (each about the size of a dessertspoon)
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
A dash of olive oil, for frying the onions
Fresh parsley, for serving
Fresh parmesan, for serving
A drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil, for serving
- Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan then reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
- In a large heavy based pan, add a touch of olive oil and fry the onion and celery until softened.
- Pour in the rice and stir to coat the grains. By frying the grains before you add any liquid, you’re left with a nice nutty flavour. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the glass of wine over the rice and stir with a wooden spoon. You want the alcohol to evaporate before adding a ladle full of stock.
- Continue to add the stock, constantly stirring the rice and only adding more stock once it has been soaked up by the rice. This process of adding the stock and stirring the rice takes time. You don’t want to rush it. Keep an eye on the temperature too because if its too high, the rice will burn on the bottom of the pan, which we don’t want.
- While the rice is cooking, in a seperate frying pan, fry the mushrooms with the thyme, garlic and half the butter until cooked through. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. (The mushrooms will start to release moisture once they start to cook so don’t worry if they are too dry at the beginning of the cooking process. You can add a touch of olive oil to help them along a bit if you like).
- After about 15 minutes, the rice should nearly be cooked but should still have a bite to it. Add the mushrooms to the rice and cook stirring until you’re happy that the rice is ready. Take the risotto off the heat and leave the lid on for 5 minutes before serving.
- Stir through a knob of butter, a good amount of finely grated parmesan cheese and some parsley.
- Serve with some extra parmesan and parsley sprinkled over the top along with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Risotto should always be nice and oozy. If it is too dry – add more stock.
- I like risotto to be al dente, meaning that I don’t like the rice overcooked and too soggy. The rice is perfect when it still holds its shape.
- The key to a good risotto is all about tasting it as you go. The only way to know if the risotto rice is cooked is to taste it!
- Similarly, taste the mushrooms whilst cooking them to make sure that they are cooked well enough and don’t have too much of a bite to them.
- Dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes are a terrific addition to this risotto, if you can get your hands on some.
If you make this risotto please leave your comments below, or post your pic on Insta, tagging #los_kitchen. xx