The way I see it, if you make risotto, you fall into one of two categories. There are those that find relaxation in the practice of bringing a risotto to life, and then there are those who are driven to insanity by the attention it demands. If you fall into the latter group, I've also included a beautiful and speedier recipe for chilli mussels in addition to my flavor-filled mushroom risotto.
Recipe, styling and photography by Elisabeth Chieng of The Gluten Free Table
It's true that a dish like risotto shouldn't be rushed. The last time I made this Italian staple, my husband was away and I had the house to myself. With a glass of full-bodied red wine in hand, warmly socked feet and snug in my favourite knit, it was one of my lovelier nights in. Because despite its reputation for being overly demanding, risotto is actually quite simple to make. Give yourself time and you'll find it's well worth it.
1.5 litres chicken stock
8 dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
60 g unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 cups arborio rice
250 ml dry white wine
800 g of mixed mushrooms, such as chanterelles, enoki, button, oyster, and swiss, cut into bite-size pieces
80 ml olive oil
1 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to season
200 g crème fraîche (optional)
50 g grated parmesan
Heat oven to 220°C. Boil stock and dried mushrooms in a medium saucepan over low to medium heat until mushroom are rehydrated. Strain the liquid, reserving the mushrooms, then keep the stock warm. Melt butter in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat and cook the onion until golden, roughly 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the rice and cook until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Next add wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add 125 ml (half a cup) warm stock and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding stock, half a cup at a time, waiting until absorbed before adding more. Cook until rice is tender and creamy, about 15 minutes total. Finely dice the reserved porcini mushrooms and add to risotto.
Meanwhile, toss the fresh mushrooms, oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet and roast until mushrooms are browned and garlic is tender. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. Peel and mash the garlic. Stir half the mushrooms, the garlic, crème fraîche (optional), parmesan, salt, and pepper through the risotto. Garnish with the remaining mushrooms or serve them on the side.
While risotto is a dish I'm happy to make either for a night in with myself or when others drop by, my chilli mussels recipe is really best when shared with many. Part of the reward of cooking this dish is having family and friends gathered around, spoons jostling for juicy mussels and crusty bread soaking up the tasty broth. The result is an opportunity to catch up, lots of laughter, and very satisfied stomachs.
1 tbs olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
250 ml dry white wine
2 x 450g can tomatoes, diced
2 tbs tomato paste
500 g chopped tomatoes
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
2kg mussels, scrubbed and cleaned
1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped
Bread (gluten-free if necessary), to serve
Heat oil in a large, deep sauce pan then add the onion and garlic, cooking gently over a low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine and bring to the boil, then simmer for roughly 3 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli and brown sugar. Stir to combine and bring to the boil. Add mussels to the pan, then cover with a lid and cook for a few minutes over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally. Removing the lid and using a large spoon, remove mussels as they open and place in a large serving dish. Get rid of any mussels that don't open on their own. Remove saucepan from heat, add the parsley and stir well. Pour sauce over mussels and serve immediately with warm bread.