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Collins Bespoken

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recipe: classic mushroom risotto

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Classic Mushroom Risotto

Credit to: Becky at https://englishmum.com - check out her fabulous website!

A note from Becky: “Risotto is one of those recipes I like to cook when I’m really in the mood to take my time and potter in the kitchen. I think all the chopping and stirring is the best, gentle form of therapy. I cook the mushrooms (with lots of garlic) really slowly before I start (anyone else a bit weird about mushrooms? I love the flavour, but they have to be cooked well – a flabby mushroom is nobody’s friend). This is a great one for serving a crowd, as although it’s relatively easy, the flavour is fabulous, and it’s also quite forgiving as it will sit for a while once it’s made. You can tart it up with garlicky, buttery chunks of toasted sourdough and a fresh green salad, or just eat it in big greedy bowlfuls in front of the telly. Here’s how to make a classic mushroom risotto.”

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Serves 2 (generously)

butter (or plant based alternative)
oil
1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 punnet mushrooms, peeled if necessary
thyme, chives, parsley… any herbs you have really
200g risotto rice
1 ½ litres chicken stock (or veg stock) – doesn’t matter if it’s cube or whatever, just make sure it’s well flavoured

to garnish: fresh rocket leaves, parmesan (or plant based alternative) shavings

a nice cold glass of rosé for the chef wouldn’t go amiss here either

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First, melt a large chunk of butter and a good slug of oil in a heavy based pan. Becky favours a cast iron casserole, but use whatever you have – some people swear by making risotto in a frying pan, but the thing with risotto is that you need to stir it about quite vigorously to make it nice and creamy (it’s all about releasing the starch) so use something like that or a large saucepan so you can give it a really good mix.

Squish a couple of garlic cloves with the side of your knife, then peel and chop as finely as you can be bothered. Add to the pan along with the chopped onion and the mushrooms.  Season generously. Becky likes to gently cook them until they’ve gone past that watery stage and are starting to get a bit dry in the pan.

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Now, remove them to a bowl, and add fresh butter, oil and garlic. Now is also the time to make sure your stock is hot and in a saucepan next to your risotto pan.

Cook the garlic gently (don’t let it burn) for a few minutes then add in the risotto rice.  Give it a really good stir around.  There is a school of thought that you should almost ‘toast’ the rice in the oil before you add any liquid. Some people like to add a glass of white wine here, but Becky just keeps it to the stock – each to their own. Add a ladle of stock and stir gently until it’s been absorbed.

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Now just keep stirring until each ladleful of stock is absorbed before adding another.  Don’t be in too much of a hurry.  Enjoy the process. This bit will probably take 20 minutes to half an hour depending on how you like your risotto. Becky isn’t keen on al dente – so she tends to cook it until it’s really soft.

Here’s when you can stir your garlicky mushrooms back through the risotto. Sometimes a handful of frozen peas is added in there too, which gives little pops of sweetness.  Oh, and if you have herbs in the garden, chuck a big handful in now. Spoon into bowls and add a final flourish of rocket (or another sprinkle of herbs) and some shavings of parmesan, if you like.

Heaven.

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