Utterly Luxurious Mushroom Risotto

When you think of risotto, you think of mushrooms, so it’s not an especially exotic idea. But what really makes this simple recipe sparkle is the ingredients. In my latest parcel from the lovely Flavrbox team, I found a package of Seggiano risotto rice, some dried porcini mushrooms from L’Aquila London, and a tiny bottle of Truffle Hunter English Truffle Oil (which nearly sent me into a swoon when I opened it for a sniff), and immediately I knew what was going to be on the menu.

Of course, truffle oil is not cheap, but you can get a lot more out of it than you can from actual truffles, and to be completely honest with you, I think I prefer it. So it’s worth investing in a bottle to keep in the cupboard for special occasions such as this, when you want to go all out and make a really fabulous dish. It goes beautifully with the earthy flavour of the porcini mushrooms and the rich, creamy rice. One final note – in this kind of risotto, it’s usual to use white wine, but because the flavours are so deep and rich, I think red wine actually works much better.

250g risotto rice
1 onion
Olive oil
A glass of red wine
About 20g dried porcini mushrooms
1 pint of chicken stock
Cheddar cheese

Serves 2

The first thing to do is put the porcini mushrooms in to soak in a pint of water – check the instructions on the packet but you usually need to soak them for about 20 minutes. When the time is up, drain the mushrooms but make sure you keep the soaking liquid – you’ll use it later to cook the risotto rice.

Next, finely dice the onion, then pop into a large saucepan with a generous scoop of butter, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of dried rosemary, and allow it to come to a gentle sizzle over a medium heat – you want the onions to soften and become translucent without gaining any colour. Measure out the risotto rice and add to the pan. Stir through to coat with the melted butter, then turn up the heat a little and pour in the red wine – there should be a hiss and it should bubble up nicely. Keep stirring until the wine has mostly disappeared.

Now you can start adding the soaking liquid from the mushrooms, a bit at a time, and stirring gently until it’s absorbed before adding any more. When you run out of liquid, add the mushrooms and season well, then make up the chicken stock and continue adding that until the rice starts to look properly plump. Have a taste to see if it’s cooked and add more stock if necessary.

When the rice is cooked through, take the risotto off the heat. Add another dab of butter, a handful of grated cheddar and a drizzle of truffle oil – don’t go overboard, as it’s a pretty strong flavour – stir through, then pop the lid on and leave it for a moment while you lay the table. This is the magical moment of mantecatura which makes a risotto really rich and creamy, as the cheese and butter melt.

Finally, serve up a couple of generous, gooey spoonfuls topped with a little more cheese and, if you fancy, another drizzle of truffle oil. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water – this is truly the king of risottos.