Mushroom Risotto

Paris is now back at work and school.

The rentrée is underway.  This is the start of the new school year and is a big thing here and people are making new year resolutions, new books are being published and everyone is buying new clothes.  The newspapers carry the same old stories about the cost of the rentrée and, for some reason, the bed shops begin their sales.

It is now becoming autumnal and the trees all started losing their leaves last month.  The good thing about early autumn is that the markets now have more mushrooms.  The girolles [also known as chanterelles] have started to appear and so what better time than now to have a mushroom risotto?  No, I couldn’t think of one either.  This recipe is for two people.

Mushrooms are excellent things, no fat, no sugar, lots of fibre and more protein than other vegetable type things.

First prepare the mushrooms.  The cookbooks all say that it’s so easy to just clean the mushrooms with a pastry brush.  These mushrooms were having none of it.  There was a fair amount of muck in the delicate grooves that a brush was not going top shift.  So I washed them under gently flowing tap water and then dried them on paper towels.  So long as you do this just before you cook them you’ll be OK.  Do it too early and your mushrooms will become mush.  You’ll need at least 300g for two but these are good so why not chuck some more in? Of course, if you can get other mushrooms, then it’s more interesting to have a good mix.

Heat some olive oil over a high heat and fry the girolles for four or five minutes.  They are delicate so don’t fiddle around too much.  After a minute or so add a chopped clove of garlic or two.

Meanwhile, soak around an ounce of dried porcini [ceps are the same thing] in hot water and leave for around 30 minutes.  When they have soaked and plumped up nicely, drain them [reserving the liquid they soaked in] and chop coarsely [or clumsily, depending on preference].

Heat some oil and  / or butter in a pan and add a finely chopped onion and cook until soft.  Add some garlic and your porcini, gift it a stir and then add around 100g of arborio rice and give it another good stir.  Chuck in a glassful of white wine and treat yourself to a glass. You’ve worked hard after all.  Now slowly add around 150 – 200 ml chicken stock, bit by bit, adding more as they last lot is absorbed by the rice.  You should also add the liquid you kept back from soaking the mushrooms earlier.

When the rice is al dente or however soft you prefer, check for seasoning, add a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, a handful of grated parmesan and also your girolles from earlier.  Don’t stir it too vigorously or your girolles will fall apart but get it nicely mixed.  When the girolles are heated through, serve with good bread and some more parmesan.

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