Sunday, February 20, 2011

Porcini risotto

Did I tell you that I have absolutely, unconditionally and permanently fallen in love with risotto?

I couldn't even cook it before I started this quest. In fact, I couldn't cook it successfully until Marcella herself told me how to cook it on facebook.

Hazan risotto, on song, is insane. It is magical. It is comforting. Exotic. Familiar at the same time. Moreish. Delightful. Intoxicating.

This is risotto with porcini mushrooms. I didn't really want to make it, as I prefer fresh food to dried. But Marcella has called this dish a classic of monumental statute, so I decided to give it a go.

And give it a go I did. I'm following Giulano Hazan's instructions on risotto from How to Cook Italian, as they are similar to Marcella's modern instructions on facebook, and I like that there is no vegetable oil or tablespoons of anything. Just butter and onion halves.

The only Marcella tip I used on this one was to soak the mushrooms for 30 minutes rather than 15.

Other than that I was away with the now very familar routine of butter, onions (make sure they are cooked properly!), vegetable, rice, broth and more butter and parmesan.

The mushrooms are exotic looking. They smell of the woods - somewhere you can't go. I was a little concerned as I'm sure i've used this in a chicken dish and it didn't work for me. I was worried the flavour would be too strong.

But it came together as I stirred. Creamy from the rice. Mushroomy from the mushroom water. Meat brothy from the meat broth. And the final, magical step with the butter and parmesan that has a long name starting with M that I can't recall. It transformed it into something very special indeed.

We ooed and arred as we ate this one. It was exotic and delicious. Not a grain of rice escaped. We were on a porcini high - we had never tasted anything like it.

I'll certainly be cooking this again.

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