I confess to a softness for risottos. They are so easy, quick; you dirty one pot, make a quick salad and bingo, dinner’s on the table!
We are still planting, gosh, I don’t know, lots and lots of plants. The days are still unusually warm…lately at lunch time it’s been 21°C (70°F). So, plant we do. From morning until it gets dark around 17:00. So, the last thing I really feel like doing is cooking an elaborate dinner…I just want a hot shower and a rest for my aching back.
An aside: I really like the 24 hour clock…..as an American, it took a bit to get used to, but frankly, it avoids all confusion as to what time something is at.
Back to risottos. I’ve been planning on going food shopping for some days now. We are out of most of the pantry basics, but, warm weather beckons me to plant rather than shop. So, last night I was scrounging around the fridge and pantry and found a bit of rice, a few fresh mushrooms and some dried porcini mushrooms. No onions (!), but a few garlic cloves and some Marsala wine. Our pantry was so bare there wasn’t even any white wine hanging about!
We have a big herb garden, so I always have fresh herbs on hand, and we have a vegetable garden, so I almost always have fresh lettuce on hand.
So, here it is, fast, warm and delicious and takes about 30 minutes from start to table.
some fresh mushrooms, any kind or a mix.
Dried porcini mushrooms (if you don’t have them, add more fresh mushrooms)
Rice for risotto
Olive oil or butter
Grating cheese, either parmigiano, pecorino or grana padano, or a mix.
Soak a few (a small handful) of porcini mushrooms in some warm, almost hot water while you are slicing some mushrooms, as many as you like. I used about 3 large handfuls for 3 people.
Chop a small handful of fresh parsley and set aside.
Sauté in a tiny bit of olive oil the fresh mushrooms. When the mushrooms start to lose their water, add some chopped or thinly sliced garlic (I used one large clove) and the chopped soaked porcini mushrooms. Save the water that you soaked the porcini in!
Once the mushrooms are cooked through, add about 1 small glass of Marsala wine.
Cook down. Now add the rice (see note below for quantities) and the reserved porcini water. I like to strain the porcini water through a tea strainer just in case there are bits of earth.
Cook until the rice is dry and now start adding a bit at a time some very hot or boiling water. When I start to make a risotto, I put on the tea kettle so my water is ready when I need it.
Stir gently until the rice absorbs the water. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Between stirrings of the risotto, make your salad.
Add more hot water, stirring and repeat until the rice is al dente, but also creamy and soupy. You should be able to eat it with a fork, but it shouldn’t be dry. Add a handful of grated cheese and mix well and serve immediately.
How much raw rice per person for risottos:
The general rule of thumb is this: (taught to me years ago by one of my first cooking mentors, Piera from Genova)
2 handfuls of raw rice per person. Now this of course is intended if the risotto is a first course. When you make it as a one course meal with a salad, you might want a bit more. I tend to put in 5.5 handfuls for Hans and me.