The last few weeks have been a flurry of activities, culinary and otherwise. A few more cooking classes to squeeze into the schedule, a couple of extra food and wine events to attend and a few more dishes to cook and photograph. I find it hard to extract myself from my culinary activities. With our trip to Europe coming up soon you know how it is, there is so much to get done, think of, organize and plan. With reading and planning I am getting more familiar with the city of lights and beginning to feel that five weeks in Paris is just not enough (yes, we added a week). It will be interesting to be there so late in the season, when the weather is cold and the city is in holiday spirit. I am packing for the weather: winter coat, scarves and shawls (biensur), hats, gloves, flat walking boots (oye). I have been there before and I know I have to be comfortable. Good thing I managed to buy a pair of Italian hand made Loro Piana boots last year. They should be comfortable. Everything else I have is NOT flat. Comfortable is one thing, casual is another. Parisians are not casual, as you may already know. Remember that chic is a French word and I would like to feel chic while wandering the boulevards of Saint Germaine. We’ll see how I do. I will report the truth on these very pages.
So what does risotto have to do with our trip to Paris? nothing, really. I made this recipe a few weeks ago but forgot about it and I thought I’d post it now. Wild mushrooms are no longer available here but this blog has readers from 70 countries so maybe in your region they are still growing. In any event, you can make this recipe with any mushroom you have but a good substitute would be shiitake mushrooms because of their deep flavour.
Risotto is an all season food and should be in every cooks repertoire. It may seems a little scary if you haven’t made it before but really, it is easy to make and not much can go wrong that you can’t fix. Risotto is beautiful in the spring with asparagus and peas, in the summer with fresh corn, zucchini and herbs, and in the fall with wild mushrooms and winter squashes. I hope you give it a try.
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, or 2 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 lobster mushrooms or 2 cups shitake mushrooms
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Zest from a small lemon, grated
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup grated cheese (parmesan, pecorino)
Place stock in a small pot and bring to a boil, reduce to low.
Melt butter in a 2 quart pot, add onion and cook until softened.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the mushrooms and cook a couple of minutes stirring.
Add rice and stir to coat the grains with the butter, cooking about 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring, until liquid evaporates.
Start adding a bit of stock, a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well between each addition and waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more.
Add lemon zest and continue adding stock slowly until rice grains are nice and plump. Taste it and stop when it is done. Cooking time should be at least 20 minutes or more.
Add some salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the cheese at the end will add some salt.
When the risotto is cooked to your liking add 1 tablespoon butter, some of the parsley and the grated cheese and stir, allowing the butter and cheese to melt into the risotto.
Taste and correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary.
Let the risotto rest and settle for a couple of minutes, then scoop it into individual serving bowls and serve warm, sprinkled with the remaining parsley, parmesan and lemon zest.