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Mushrooms, with all their meaty umami and rich earthy flavour, are the perfect foil to a well-made risotto’s creamy nuance, the slightly al dente rice grains adding bite to the slick smoothness of the soft mushrooms.
Although in season predominantly in autumn, our range of dried mushrooms makes it possible to enjoy a wide variety of exotic fungi all year round. Simply soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 15 minutes, then use them in your favourite stews, salads, braises, fry-up and, of course, this magnificent risotto. Pass the soaking liquid through a piece of muslin cloth and add it to your stock for an extra mushroom hit.
When it comes to risotto, Arborio rice is the classic choice, but don't be afraid to experiment with other short-grain varieties like Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. Depending on how you prefer your risotto - thick and luxuriously creamy, or soft and silky - each rice will give a different result.
Remember, risotto is all about patience and stirring with love.
Heat the stock in a saucepan and leave to simmer. Do not skip this step. Keeping the stock hot will allow it to be easily incorporated into the rice and cook the grains evenly.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan or pot over a low heat, add the onion and fry until soft but not coloured.
Add the Swiss brown mushrooms and the porcini and cook for 5 minutes, until soft and lightly browned.
Add the rice and stir to toast the grains (tostatura) for a minute or two, then add the wine. Stir and simmer until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Add one or two ladles of hot stock.
Stir frequently, adding stock a ladle at a time until the stock is absorbed. Agitation is important to release the starch in the rice grains and prevent them from sticking to the base of the pan, but constant stirring is unnecessary. Stirring too much can cool the risotto before it's cooked and produce a gluey consistency.
Keep at a medium simmer while cooking. The cooking time will vary but after about 20 minutes test the rice. It is done when the grains are tender but still firm (al dente).
Remove from heat and rest for a minute.
Pan fry sage leaves in butter until crisp.
The final step in making a risotto is called “mantecatura”. This describes the process of incorporating butter and grated cheese into the risotto, binding the ingredients and achieving a creamy texture. Add the butter and cheese and toss the rice with the butter and parmesan. The risotto should move like a rippling wave (all’onda).
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on warm plates topped with fried sage leaves.
Note: Dried mushrooms have not been washed. Cover dried porcini in warm water and soak for about 15 minutes. Pick the mushrooms out of the water and then carefully strain the water to remove grit. The remaining liquid will taste intensely of mushrooms and can be added to the stock.
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