Thursday, October 16, 2008

58. Risotto with Porcini (p. 256)

As the weather starts to get cooler, I begin to crave comfort food. And one of my favorite comfort foods in risotto. Mushrooms, however, are not a favorite food of mine. So, it was with some hesitation that I made this recipe.* But with my first bite, all of that hesitation fell away, and I just might be a mushroom fan after all.

The recipe starts with soaking dried porcini mushrooms in warm chicken stock and water and a little bit of oil. Then, the mushrooms are drained, rinsed, chopped and set aside. Don't discard that soaking liquid! Strain it through a paper-towel-lined sieve and put it in a saucepan with more chicken stock and bring it to a simmer. This is the liquid that will be added, bit by bit, to the risotto as it cooks. (Note to self: You just used up the last of your frozen, homemade chicken stock. Time to make some more.)

Then, it's on to the rice. First, melt some butter in a pan (rather than the 4-quart saucepan suggested by The Book, I used my trusty 12-inch Calphalon non-stick "Everyday" pan) and soften some chopped onion. Then add the Arborio rice and cook for a few minutes. Then, start adding the cooking liquid, one-half-cup at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed, before adding more liquid. After about 20 minutes, the rice is creamy and tender, but still a little bit firm. To finish off the dish, add some more butter, the chopped mushrooms, a good amount of grated Parmaigiano-Reggiano, and some salt and pepper.

What a great recipe! I really enjoyed this. The flavor is rich, earthy, and luxurious. This dish is as comforting to make as it is to eat. There's something calming about standing in front of a warm stove for a half-hour slowly stirring and methodically adding little bits of cooking liquid. I served this with some steamed broccoli rabbe, which was a nice pairing. I will definitely make this recipe again.

Date Cooked: September 28, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A

*The epicurious recipe I've linked to is not the same as the one in The Book, but they have a lot of similarities. The Book's recipe, which is not online, is simpler than the epicurous recipe, and does not call for soy sauce or wine.

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