(Makes about 4 cups of risotto)
The magic of Risotto is in the absorption of flavored liquids into the grains, and the creamy Parmigiana sauce, which is formed at the end of the process. Because the ingredients are so simple, and yet so very important to the exquisiteness of the dish, be sure to use excellent quality. You may deliciously make this dish with whole unpolished grains such as Bluebird Farms Emmer Farro. Increase the stock by about 2 cups and double the cooking time.
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1-1/2 cups very hot water
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 cup sliced fresh chanterelles (or substitute crimini if chanterelles are unavailable)
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup good dry white wine
3-4 cups flavorful chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
For the mushrooms and broth:
Soak the mushrooms in very hot water for 30 minutes. Clean off any floating debris from the surface of the soaking liquid and carefully scoop the mushrooms out with your fingers or a slotted spoon, being careful not to disturb any sediment the has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. Pour the soaking liquid (now delicious mushroom broth) into a container, leaving the sediment behind. (You may do this step through cheesecloth if you like.) Finely chop the mushrooms.
For the risotto:
In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the shallots, chopped porcini and chanterelles until tender. From this point on the pan will need constant watching.
Over medium high heat add the rice and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and stir until absorbed into the grains. Pour in the mushroom broth and cook until it is absorbed into the grains. Add 1 cup of the chicken or vegetable broth, and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add an additional cup of the broth and stir, once again, until fully absorbed. Proceed in this fashion with all the remaining broth (reserving at least 1/2 cup), or until the rice grains are cooked tender but firm. (You may not need to add all the broth; some Arborio rice absorbs less liquid than others.)
As the final step, stir in the basil and 1/2 cup of the broth. This should make the grains a little bit juicy. Immediately stir in the parmesan. The cheese will melt into the broth which hasn't been absorbed and form a creamy sauce around the grains.
Garnish with roasted beets.
1/4 cup peeled and diced red beets
1/4 cup peeled and diced golden beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh chopped herbs such as basil, dill or sage
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the beets with the olive oil and roast until tender and slightly caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Toss with the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Recipe by Lynne Vea