Wild Mushroom, Bacon and Pine Nut Risotto Recipe

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Both Michael and I adore Risotto. This dish is an absolute winner and, as a result, I have made it twice in the past month. This recipe serves 4, but I usually double-up for lunches for most of the following week! Whilst I feel that the bacon adds some real flavour to this dish, I have previously made a vegetarian version by leaving out the bacon, using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and replacing the butter with margarine. It was still very tasty! The recipe follows

Ingredients

30g dried porcini mushrooms (a cheaper alternative is shitake)
About 1 cup warm water
1/2 cup pine nuts
6 tablespoons olive oil
500g fresh mushrooms, sliced or coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons dry white wine
About 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
174g bacon, cut up finely
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
About 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Method

  • Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl; add warm water to cover. Let sit until softened (about 30 minutes – a bit longer if you are using shitake)
  • Fry bacon in 1 tablespoon of oil until crisp and set aside.
  • Remove soaking mushrooms from bowl, squeezing out excess liquid. Chop mushrooms coarsely. Save the mushroom liquid as this will be added to the stock.
  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Place pine nuts in a small pan and bake, shaking once or twice, until just golden, 5 to 7 minutes. These babies burn so easily, so keep and eye on them! Let cool.
  • In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (5 to 7 minutes). Stir in the rehydrated, chopped mushrooms. Add the 3 tablespoons white wine and cook for 1 minute. Set aside.
  • Add enough stock to the dried mushroom liquid to make 4 cups. Pour into a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Stir in the thyme and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened but not browned (3 to 5 minutes). Add rice and cook, stirring often, until coated with oil and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour in the 1/4 cup white wine and bring the rice mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring often, until the wine is absorbed (1 to 2 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium. Pour in 1 cup of the warm mushroom liquid and cook, stirring often, until absorbed. Continue adding liquid to rice, 1 cup at a time, stirring often, until it is absorbed and rice is creamy and tender but still firm in the centre (15 to 20 minutes total in total).
  • Stir in mushrooms, 1/4 cup of the pine nuts, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, bacon bits and the butter. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms are heated through and the butter has melted (1 to 2 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide risotto equally among 4 warm, shallow bowls or plates and top with the remaining 1/4 cup pine nuts and the rest of the parmesan cheese.

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    This recipe has been adapted from one sourced from Diamond Foods

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