Tonight, I was entertaining. My guest had been good enough to place her order well in advance, so I was sure I’d be on pretty safe ground.
Risotto isn’t a tricky thing to get right providing you’re willing to stand over a pan for 15 – 20 mins. Unless you have a groovy kitchen diner, this will mean leaving your guest to amuse themselves for a little while, but in these modern times I find that if they have the TV remote in one hand and a smart phone in the other, I could probably pop out for a pint unnoticed. Actually that’s not entirely true tonight. My lady was hungry.
Adding stock little by little and keeping an eye on the temperature, making sure the rice doesn’t go beyond aldente becomes more tricky when you have a hungry woman milling around like a starving (but very attractive) cat, but eventually rice hit plate & we dug in.
If you’re bothering to read this blog, you probably know how to make risotto, and plus it’s difficult to provide exact measurements when you don’t know how much someone might like to make, but here are the bones of it.
Mushroom Risotto with Mussels & Prawns.
The seafood in this was an afterthought, and precooked prawns & mussels were added for the last few minutes of cooking. Normal this would be a purely vegetable dish.
I use two packs of mushrooms. One box of cheap whites, and a box of either portabellos or chestnuts. Take your cheapies & either grate them, as if preparing a duxelle, or blitz them in a food processor (which you’ll need later anyway). Fry these shredded mushrooms with your onions & garlic at the beginning before your rice goes in. They’ll almost dissolve, but you’ll get a great mushroom flavour running through the risotto. Take your better quality mushrooms & either roughly chop or tear them & either fry or roast. Add to the risotto midway through cooking.
Press on as you would normally with your rice, coating the grains well with the garlic onions mushroom oil, then adding your wine (or not) then starting to add your hot stock.
Take a good handful of fresh parsley and the same of basil (or 1 pre-pack of each from the supermarket) & place in a food processor with about 75g of nuts (pine nuts, walnuts – I used unsalted pistachios tonight) a clove of garlic & a piece of parmesan about the size of a matchbox. Start the mixer & add good olive oil & juice of half a large lemon until the pesto comes together, then, if you have it, add a tablespoon of truffle oil.
When your risotto is cooked to how you like it, stir in your pesto, check your seasoning & serve.