Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Molto Italiano: Risotto with Mushrooms and Vin Santo

My sister and I went to a Halloween festival downtown yesterday, and as part of the city's big push to re-invigorate the arts district, they had various specialty vendors selling beautiful things like fresh flowers and wild mushrooms.  There were two guys selling the mushrooms, and since they had a decent stash, we dug through for some good looking specimens.  And what could be better to highlight fresh mushrooms than a luscious mushroom risotto?

I don't have my entire collection of cookbooks at my disposal currently, but I did have a copy of Molto Italiano.  And it does have a risotto recipe.  Now, I've had some experiences with Mario Batali's recipes that haven't been exactly turned out, so I was a little hesitant to use his recipe.  I should have listened to my inner chef.

The risotto turned out pretty good, taste-wise, but texture-wise?  Total disaster.  The stock was not absorbed by the rice in anything approximating the time table in the book, so the rice slowly became mush.  I seem to keep having these kinds of issues!  Why, Mario, why?  I want to love your food, I really do.  Well, not all of it.  You can keep your offal.

Risotto with Mushrooms and Vin Santo
From Molto Italiano by Mario Batali

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium red onion, finely chopped
8 ounces porcini mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces shittake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
1½ cups Arborio rice
8 cups chicken stock, heated until hot
1 cup Vin Santo (or dry sherry)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until almost smoking. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned. Add the rice and stir until thoroughly coated and opaque, about 3 minutes.

Add a 4 to 6 ounce ladleful of the stock and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding the stock a ladleful at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed each time before adding more, until the rice is tender and creamy but still al dente, about 18 minutes.

Add the Vin Santo and cook until the alcohol smell is gone, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the butter and Parmigiano, and stir vigorously for 25 seconds. Season with salt and pepper, divide the risotto among four warmed plates, and serve.

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