Friday, June 30, 2006

Risotto ai funghi e prezzemolo



So, while you are still guessing here and maybe playing here, let me spoil you with something else.

If you're Italian is a little rusty - that means Risotto with mushrooms and parsely. Although I think the name should actually include - garlic and thyme too because these two ingredients also give this risotto it's great aromatic flavor.

Before I do go into the actual recipe I'd like to talk a bit about the real main ingredient. The rice.

Rice is really a staple that is available in all parts of the world. The Japanese use it in preparing Sushi, the Chinese in their fried rice, the Thai, of course we Indians could not live without it. Also in Europe rice is used very widely - Italians prepare their risotto and the Spanish their paella. So, we are talking about a very international staple here.

There so many different cultures that have their own special method to prepare rice. And each have their own variety of rice.

Basmati Rice , Kalijira Rice, Para Rice, Rissotto, Lousiana Rice, Red Rice, Black Rice, Carolina Rice, Jasmine Rice, Arboria Rice, Della Rice, Texamati, Wehani, Rice Varieties, Brown Rice, White Rice, Short Grain Rice, Medium Grain Rice, Enriched Rice, Instant Rice, Converted Rice .... well you get my point!

The two types of rice you see above are the ones I always have on stock at home - actually I have a third too, the jasmine Thai rice - but I was out of that!

It is the long grained and elegant looking Indian Basmati rice and the Italian Arboria short, stout and white. The 2/3 types of rice covers our staple for the different tastes we love. Indian, Italian and Asian.

But before you go and try making this dish here with a basmati rice let me warn you - IT WON'T WORK!

The rice in itself is a very proud little grain. Never insult her by trying to make a recipe she is not grown to be. A little bit like us women ... if we are compared with any other woman we kind of strike by going all wrong. So, imagine a Biryani with a sticky japanese sushi rice - yeeuuhhh!

A lot of you visiting my blog are also from all over the world and what would interest me is if you would share the types of rice you use in your kitchen. Maybe we can make our own types of rice list. This would complement the theme to this month's From My Rasoi event: Rice, being hosted over at Paz' blog!

Now, to my risotto!



In the summer we love to sit out on our terrace and enjoy the long evenings. We eat light meals and sip on light wines and cocktails. Of course a risotto is the perfect type of dish that fits in our summer time atmosphere. Our neighbors usually spontaneously come over and so that there is enough to go around I instinctively make huge portions!

This time I turned to Jamie Oliver and his brilliant Jamie's Italy.

He makes risotto easy, quick and just delectable.

I look forward to your comments and in the meantime: Bueno Appetito!

Just a quick reminder to everyone: This month's Monthly Mingle theme is Big on Barbecue. The deadline is July 8th. Get those barbecues hot, sizzling and give me your best recipe!






Ingredients:

For a basic risotto - Risotto Bianco:
1 l of stock - chicken, vegie, fish whatever you have in store
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
400g Risotto rice - the best and my preference here would be the Arboria type
2 wine glasses full of dry white wine - if cooking for kids substitute this with more stock
salt and fresh cracked pepper
70 g butter
120g parmesan - grated

For the funghi - mushroom
200g wild mushrooms - cleaned and coarsely chopped
olive oil
salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 whole garlic spud - separated in individual cloves, peeled and cut in half
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch fresh parsley - very finely chopped
lemon juice







Method:

Basic risotto

Step one:
Bring the stock to a boil. In another pot heat the butter and olive oil together and add the chopped onion and garlic. On a low heat sauté very gently for 15 minutes until the flavors have combined and caramelized. Be careful not to allow them to take on color.
Jamie explains that this is called soffritto in the Italian kitchen. Add the rice and raise the temperature.

Step Two:
Keep stirring the rice while in cooks and takes on a glassy color - approx. 1 minute. At this point add the wine (or stock) and allow the rice to take on the wonderful aroma.

Step Three:
Once this has evaporated and the rice begins to get dry add a ladle full of the stock. Stir well and add a touch of salt. Reduce the temperature so that the mixture bubbles slightly. Now, keep adding ladle full of stock, allow the rice to soak this up and stirring every now and then. When the rice has soaked the liquid add another ladle full. By "massaging" the rice this way you release the creamy starch from the rice giving the dish a fantastic consistency. This whole process takes approx. 15 minutes. The rice grains should be soft but still have a slight crunch to them. Now add a bit of salt and pepper, but be careful as the stock is normally salty enough - so please taste before!

Step Four:
Take the pot off the heat and add the butter and parmesan cheese. Mix well and cover. Allow the rice to take on all the flavors - 2 minutes. According to Jamie this is the moment of truth - as giving the risotto this time allows it to unfold it's perfect creamy-moist consistency.

The wild mushroom mixture:

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Around the end of preparing Step Three (above) you should begin with the preparation of the mushroom mixture.

Heat an ovenproof pan and add some olive oil. Sauté the mushrooms for approx. 1-2 minutes until they take on a bit of color. Add salt and pepper and all the garlic, the thyme and the butter. Put this in the oven for about 6 minutes until they release their lovely earthy aroma.

After you have completed Step Four - adding the butter and parmesan - mix in the parsley in the risotto too. It takes on a lovely green color. Then coarsely chop half of the mushroom/garlic mixture and stir into the risotto. Add a generous squirt of lemon juice which is a wonderful neutralizer for the earthy mushroom/garlic taste. Serve the risotto on plates with the rest of the mushroom mixture over the top.

Serve immediately.




Verdict:

It does sound like a lot of work doesn't it. But believe me this is done in such a jiffy that you'll have plenty of time to surf the blogs ;-)

I can't even begin to describe the exclusive taste of this dish. The flavors literally explode in the mouth. The thyme, garlic and mushroom works so well against the fresh parsley and tangy lemon. It harmonizes with the cheese to bring a very powerful, rich and aromatic flavor.

Tom absolutely loved it. It is filling but not heavy and with such dishes I always get bonus points ;-)
Soeren on the other hand found the whole thing very garlicky. He did eat a moderate portion and loved the mushrooms but the garlic was picked out.

I really recommend this dish for a fantastic summer holiday feeling on the balcony, porch or terrace. With the perfect chilled wine who needs the hills of Tuscany when you have all of Italy in your mouth ;-)

With all those herbs in this dish I hope Kalyn will enjoy this one in her Weekend Herb Blogging.
Entry also for Cate's great ARF 5 A Day Tuesday.

12 comments :

  1. Delicious looking risotto Meeta!!!

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  2. Meeta,
    Blog Patrol is gonna be busy making Risotto now. ;-)
    Btw, is that Italy's map that you have made with the rice grains?
    And hey, I too have been cooking a lot with white wine the last few days. Will publish the recipes soon.
    One more thing: I wish I were that lucky neighbour of yours. ;-)

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  3. It does sound absolutely wonderful. I love to use thyme in savory dishes.

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  4. Oh, that looks SOOOOO good!

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  5. Hi Meeta,
    Lovely post, really. You've got a real knack for story-telling and reading this post was enjoyable. Thanks for including the snip & share recipe - what a great idea! I think EVERYONE here wants you to be their neighbor - LOL!

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  6. what a lovely meal! I also love your suggestion about sharing a list of the types of rices in our kitchens! Thanks Meeta!

    Paz

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  7. Hmm, looks yummy. Where would you like the rice list to go? ;-)

    Do they make brown risotto? Don't know if I've ever seen risotto of any kind, but will have to look for it.

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  8. Thank you!
    Talena,
    Good point and sorry if I forgot to mention it. You can add the list here in the comments. This way it will be a great comparision for everyone else interested. Yes, I have also seen brown risotto rice here. Try looking for Arboria risotto riceas that is really the best kind!

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  9. That looks so delicious! Love mushroom risotto...

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  10. Hi Meeta,
    The Risotto looks wonderful. I couldn't quite understand the amount of stock needed. is it 1 can. Could you please specify the amount.

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  11. Hi Meena,

    You'll need 1 liter of stock.
    Cheers!

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  12. Meetha, your risotto photograph is being used on a Brazilian commercial site here http://tvtem.globo.com/culinaria/receita.asp?codigo=2069&EditoriaID=47

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta