Mushroom and Goat Cheese Risotto

I came across a recipe for mushroom risotto by  Terry Durack in the Good Weekend last Saturday and immediately wanted to make one. Terry’s always inspiring me!  Naturally I’ve adapted his recipe.  I thought about calling this “Scarborough Fair Risotto” for obvious reasons.  I wasn’t trying to be cute by using parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme in this recipe, I just felt it needed a lot of different herbs and that’s what I had in my garden and fridge.   In the end I thought such a title would be a bit misleading, as the mushrooms really do take centre stage.  This dish involves a little more time and effort than my sneaky baked porcini mushroom risotto, but this is a real risotto – stirred for 20 minutes, with hot stock slowly added, resulting in a perfect creamy and slightly runny risotto. I just love risotto, its so comforting and nourishing when its done well.

The best results will be achieved with really good homemade stock.

1 and a quarter cups  arborio rice (don’t use any other type of rice, the aborio is essential)

4 large fresh mushrooms (eg portobello), wiped with a damp cloth and very thinly sliced (don’t wash mushrooms, they will absorb water) or the equivalent smaller mushrooms, eg swiss browns

1/2 cup dried mushrooms (porcini if you can get them, but shiitake will also do)

olive oil

1 leek, finely sliced (or just use a chopped onion if you can’t find a leek)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon mixed chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme

1 fresh bay leaf

About 600 ml hot homemade chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you like, but chicken stock is best  – see my recipe)

Extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

Salt & pepper

50 g soft goat cheese

Parmesan cheese for grating

Splash or two of white wine

Reconstitute the dried mushrooms in a cup of boiling water, covered, for about 10 minutes.  Drain, adding the liquid to the stock, and chop the mushrooms.

Have your stock in a saucepan on a low heat to keep it hot.

Saute the leeks (or onions) in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and herbs except parsley, and cook for about a minute.  Add the butter and mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms are cooked through. This shouldn’t take long as they’ve been finely sliced.  Keep the heat high for this stage, and don’t abandon the pan.

Splash over some white wine – about half a cup – and allow it to reduce.  Drop the heat to low, add the rice, salt & pepper and bay leaf , stirring to coat the rice.  Start adding the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring constantly.  You’ll need patience – the adding stock and stirring phase will take 15-20 minutes, so make sure there is nothing else requiring your attention when you start adding the stock.   When all the stock is used up keep stirring until you’ve been at it for 15 minutes. If the stock is fully absorbed, add a little water.  Risotto should be a little runny so adjust the liquid it until you get it to that consistency.

Stir through the parsley and serve in shallow bowls, with little dots of goats cheese crumbled over and topped with  some grated parmesan.

I like to serve this with a simple salad and a glass of red wine.


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