Mushroom Risotto from Valvona & Crolla by Mary Contini

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funghi italian table year rice chicken stock traditional recipe butter onion garlic dry white wine arborio carnaroli

Cutting corners.

If you have read my previous post about patience you’ll know that I have very little of it… except when it comes to cooking. I will not tolerate waiting in line for a sandwich but I can stand over a pot and stir a risotto for ages. There is something about the stirring that brings me joy and comfort. However, time is not the kind of corner that I am writing about. It’s the expense of ingredients.

I try my best to stay faithful to a recipe when I am cooking. However, I am not opposed to substituting, adding or eliminating ingredients if I find them unnecessary, difficult to find, or ridiculously expensive. My jaw nearly hit the floor when I approached the cheese counter at the local delicatessen only to find that the fontina cheese that this recipe called for was $65.99 per kilogram. Good golly! Although the recipe only asks for 100g making the purchase $6.59, I could not bring my self to spend so much when this was merely for a weekday dinner. I had a block of parmesan cheese in the fridge at home and decided to stick with that.

The recipe also called for 3 tablespoons of parsley. I do not have the luck of having a pot of parsley growing on my window sill… maybe one day I will. The parsley was $2.98 a bunch at the local greengrocer and I consider it wasteful to purchase a large bunch only to use 10% and have the rest rotting at the bottom of the fridge. So, I decided to do away with that ingredient and not use a substitute.

Now, with all of that in mind I spent $16.00 on ingredients for this utterly delicious risotto. Pizzaboy ate more than half the pot and complained that he had eaten too much. I ate two-thirds of what I photographed and I was full. We had enough leftover for lunch the next day. If I did not make any substitutes it would have cost $25.00

Although my risotto may not be regarded as authentic with all the changes, I am quite proud to say that it was a dream to make and devour.

funghi italian table year rice chicken stock traditional recipe butter onion garlic dry white wine arborio carnaroli

Recipe adapted from Valvona & Crolla by Mary Contini

Ingredients
1 litre of Vegetable or Chicken Stock
100g unsalted butter
1 brown onion, finely chopped
300g Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
250g cremini or porcini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
50g parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/ Place the stock in a small pot and bring to a simmer

2/ Meanwhile, heat half the butter in a shallow, heavy-based saucepan on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent.

3/ Stir in the rice, coating all the grains with the butter and onion mixture. Then add the wine and boil until the alcohol has evaporated, 3-4 minutes

4/ Add all the mushrooms, stir gently. As the mushrooms start to release their juices, add a ladleful of hot stock, stir into the rice and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat this step until most of the stock has been used.

5/ Stir in remaining butter and the parmesan cheese. Check the seasoning and serve immediately, piping hot, with more freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Tips from the cookbookmaniac
* I could not find porcini mushrooms, so I used swiss brown mushrooms instead. They worked out fine.
* Stir the risotto occasionally. Stirring it constantly will activate the starch and you will end up with a goopy mess rather than a creamy risotto.
* Make sure the stock is simmering hot before you add it to the rice
* If you like your risotto moist, take the pot off the stove and then add the last ladle of stock. It will be absorbed whilst the rice is resting.
* Check for seasoning before you add the last ladle of stock
* Valvona & Crolla is one of my favourite cookbooks

funghi italian table year rice chicken stock traditional recipe butter onion garlic dry white wine arborio carnaroli

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13 Comments

  1. Yen@foodforfour

    This risotto looks perfect and delicious. Also thanks for the tip on my blog, I always thought I over-stir my risotto.

  2. Anh

    Lovely risotto!

    And ya, cheese can be really expensive! 🙁 BTW, we don’t have fresh porcini in Aus (I think sometimes we can get the frozen ones, but again, really costly). A bit of dry porcini, soaked in hot water, would improve the flavors of the risotto greatly 🙂

  3. Tangled Noodle

    I’m definitely price-sensitive when it comes to ingredients, but I do take it on a recipe by recipe basis. Sometimes, I’ll feel it’ll be well worth the extra expense and other times, something’s gotta give! And to me, authenticity of a dish will always take a backseat to flavors and enjoyment of the end result. This risotto looks so delightful!

  4. Sonya

    Have you tried carnaroli rice in risotto before? It is more expensive but I love the stuff. I am a rural girl so it is one of the first things on my shopping list when I head to the city. I agree with Anh…a bit of dried porchini does amazing things to a mushroom risotto. Not the cheapest of ingredients but a little goes a long way. Then I add the soaking water with the stock.

  5. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    Thanks for the kudos and tips!

    Yen, gotta love masterchef for the cooking tips!

    Anh, the vege shop near where I work sells dried porcini, I might buy it for my next adventure into mushroom cooking.

    Tangled Noodle, you understand my predicament. You are a true frugalfoodiefriend!

    Sonya, the supermarket only sells arborio rice, I think I might have to hunt down carnaroli.

  6. Angie

    Isn’t it an awesome feeling when you end up with the perfect risotto? I know that years ago when I first started to cook risotto they would always end up either undercooked slightly or too mushy or undercooked and mushy at the same time! With practice (and reading) I have finally tamed the risotto.

    I know what you mean with “cutting corners” though I am definately guilty of buying a bunch of herbs or a block of cheese to have it spoil in the fridge because I didn’t make use of the leftovers. Heck I’ve even splurged on a $10 punnet of blueberries in winter because I just simply felt like making a crumble and thought pears and blueberries would go well together. Sometimes we do crazy things for food.

  7. panda

    i know exactly what you mean! i’ll easily get frustated standing in a queue but i’m more than happy to stand over the stove to stir a pot of risotto for a good half hour 🙂 anyway, i reckon you’ve been rather resourceful with this recipe, good work!

  8. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    I find stirring risotto quite hypnotic and a good way to unwind after a long day-sometimes of course you just can’t be bothered but if you have a nice night in it’s relaxing!

  9. Angie's Recipes

    The mushroom risotto looks sooooooooooooooooo delicious! I would love to add more parmesan atop!

  10. Reeni

    This looks perfect and absolutely delicious! I know what you mean about stirring the pot – I find it therapeutic and comforting!

  11. foodwink

    Looks delicious!!! In fact, I should remind myself to not to view your blog on an empty stomach. As for “cutting corners”, I’m a serial offender. No celery? Leave it out. No bay leaves and parsley for the bouquet garni? Leave them out. And then I wondered why my lamb shanks tasted weird. Sorry, I better stop rambling and get something to eat.

  12. MaryMoh

    Looks creamy and delicious. I would love to have a bowl now 😛

  13. Michelle

    i know exactly what you mean! i’ll easily get frustated standing in a queue but i’m more than happy to stand over the stove to stir a pot of risotto for a good half hour 🙂 anyway, i reckon you’ve been rather resourceful with this recipe, good work!

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