Anne Burrell is one of my favourite TV celebrity chefs. Her food is hearty and comforting, and her recipes always a slam-dunk. While the Hubs always laughs at her orgasmic sound effects on her cookshows, I love her straightforward, honest and uncomplicated approach to cooking. Plus, she's always inclined to providing real helpful hints and insider know-how to cooking.
Like her recipe for mushroom risotto: the intimidating dish is made so accessible even for homecooks like me! It's laborious, but if you follow the recipe to a tee, the dish will pan out beautifully. Besides, what says "I love you" more than a labour of love that makes a beeline straight to the man's stomach? I've tweaked her recipe, very slightly, to accommodate for my personal preferences; the addition of truffle oil and subtraction of chives.
Ingredients (4 servings):
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 3 cups boiling water
600gm mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (I used cremini, but you can use an assortment of portobello, brown, white or shitake)
1 medium yellow onion, finely minced
2 cups arborio or canaroli rice, no need to wash
1-2 cups dry white wine (I used chardonnay here)
6-7 cups chicken stock, boiling hot (switch out with vegetable stock if catering to vegetarians)
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
Olive oil for frying
3 tbsp truffle oil
Salt for tasting
2 tbsp butter for finishing
Parmesan, to shave as garnish
Porcini Paste (used as an additive to jazz up mushroom risottos or soups)
1) To make a porcini paste, remove the rehydrated porcini with a slotted spoon into a blender with 2 tbsp of soaking water and blend into a paste. Set aside the paste for use later.
2) The remainder of the soaking water, add the top 2/3 layer to chicken stock to boil; discard the bottom 1/3 layer, it contains the crud and dirt that has settled to the bottom.
1) Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in pan, and add garlic (this is to make the oil tastier and fragrant).
2) Once garlic is browned, remove from pan. To save time, you can opt to use garlic oil instead.
3) Add onions to fry until transluscent. Salt lightly (this is to layer the flavours as you go instead of only at the end).
4) Add rice, coat evenly in oil and fry until toasty.
5) Add wine, enough to cover the surface of the rice and stir into rice until wine is almost all absorbed.
5) Add 1 cup stock (or enough stock to cover the rice), and stir until liquid all absorbed. Repeat 2 more times. Salt lightly.
6) It should look like this, plump with a toothsome bite.
7) Add 2 tbsp porcini paste, and stir into risotto.
8) In a separate pan, fry up the sliced mushrooms with 3 tbsp olive oil till cooked through. Salt lightly.
9) Add cooked mushrooms to the risotto, and toss evenly.
10) Turn off heat. Add 2 tbsp butter, and 3 tbsp truffle oil, and stir gently into the rice. This emulsifies the risotto so it achieves a flowy consistency but still holds its shape. (for a creamier consistency, whip in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan)
11) Serve and garnish with parmesan shavings and freshly ground pepper.