Risotto di Fungo (Mushroom risotto)

Risotto di Fungo (Mushroom Risotto) 

Ingredients:                                                                                             Serves 8
Arborio rice (Risotto rice) – 500 g
Onion chopped – 2
Chicken stock (Well flavoured) – 750 ml
Dry white wine – 350 ml
Brown mushrooms sliced thickly – 10
Button mushrooms sliced thickly  – 500 g
Exotic or wild mushrooms – 150 g
Dried Ceps or Chanterelle mushrooms or both – 50 g
Mushroom soup (good quality – cans are OK) – 800ml  
Lemon juice (fresh squeezed) – 2 tblsp
Chopped parsley – ½ cup
Butter – 150 g
Olive oil – 4 tblsp
Freshly grated parmesan cheese – ½ cup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste

  1. Mix the mushroom soup and the chicken stock, together. While still hot, add the dried mushrooms. Set aside and allow to reconstitute for about an hour.
  2. Wipe clean, and slice the mushrooms into fairly thick slices.
  3. Heat 50g butter in a large pan over a high heat, until a nut brown in colour. Stir fry the brown and button mushrooms, with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Until just done. Add the wild mushrooms, and continue to fry for another ½ minute, tossing frequently. Squeeze over about 1 tblsp lemon juice , toss, and set aside.
  4. For The Risotto: In a large flat pan, like a paella dish, fry the onion in the olive oil with 50g of the butter, on a medium high heat, until soft and golden brown.
  5. Add the rice and toss well to coat with the butter. Fry gently for about 5-8 minutes, tossing regularly.
  6. Add the white wine and toss very well. It will “sigh” as all Italians will tell you it needs to do. Fold gently and regularly, using two wooden spatulas, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. From now on the risotto will need your permanent focused attention! and will take about 30 minutes to completion, until the rice is cooked a light al dente.
  7. Here goes: Working on a medium heat, and using a soup ladle, spoon in one ladle of the stock mix. Fold the liquid into the rice with two wooden spatulas and work the risotto continually until the liquid begins to run dry. Try not to stir – a folding action is required. Add another spoon of the stock, fold in and continue working the risotto.
  8. This must continue without the liquid ever running dry, until the stock is all used up and the rice is cooked al dente.
  9. Through this cooking process and up to the final serving, the consistency of the risotto must remain very moist and creamy – this is the secret of any good risotto. It must never dry out!
  10. When you get to the last ladle of stock, add the stir-fried mushrooms, toss gently and allow to cook in with the rice for about a minute, when the rice should be lightly al dente,
  11. Remove from the heat and working very carefully, toss in the rest of the butter, and lemon juice. Dust with the chopped parsley and the parmesan cheese as a final garnish.
  12. Serve immediately with a crusty ciabatta,  in good company, with a green, herbed salad and a bottle or two of good, well chilled Sauvignon Blanc or Chianti wine.
  13. A good Gorgonzola with figs, will go well after the meal.

Bon appétit!

Note:

  •  Turn this into an excellent vegetarian dish by using a vegetable stock!
  •  In our normal South African summers we often have a lot of wild mushrooms – if you know them, and are absolutely sure of yourself, use them. (Ceps, field mushrooms, ikowe – all good – much better than the commercial versions!)
  •  Woollies normally have all the ingredients needed.