This risotto recipe is actually a recipe of two parts. It came about through pure greed, both mine & The Gardener’s. We both love an Italian snacking/lunch treat called Arancino, which is basically risotto, that has been turned into a round patty, then, crumbed & fried. My advice with this? Make double what you think you will need. Just for the left-over possibilities.
Arancini are really the Italian version of a potato cake or bubble & squeak. Left over starch and veg, re-purposed and made even more delicious, crumbed and fried ( or baked ) to create slightly caramelised edges that give an extra edge to the starch. So much Yum! The Gardener thinks I should just make these for their own sake. But that would mean HOURS of prep. Far better in my book to make risotto one night, arancini the next.
This risotto is delicious enough on it’s own, creamy, unctuous and savoury, even without parmesan or butter.
How? How can you get that creamy, umami rich ,savoury depth of flavour without parmesan cheese you may ask? Well, the answer is- Miso. Yup that paste that makes miso soup so delicious has quite a lot to give. It’s deeply savoury, and has a subtle hint of sweetness that imitates Parm so, so well.. And – it marries really well with rice ( I don’t find it at all a coincidence that the Japanese and the Italian’s have such passion for their food- I think there might be a whole post for another day there)
In the meantime. Trust me.
The dried shitake mushrooms make a deeply savoury broth to steep the rice in, then the peas and spinach – or in my case, the last of our spinach chard- for freshness and miso for umami flavour, end up making a lovely- Italian/Japanese fusion that ensures a yummy, spoonable and comforting risotto. That happens to make the basis of one of the yummiest snack, canapes or picnic foods around.
- 250g risotto rice
- 5 dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 big bunch spinach, washed well and finely chopped
- 150 g chestnut mushrooms finely chopped
- 2 tsp marigold stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tsp thyme- fresh is best
- 1 Tbs miso
- Salt & Pepper to season
- Pour 600mls hot water into a saucepan, and add the dried shitake mushrooms with the marigold stock
- Bring to a simmer and let the mushrooms steep in it, squishing them around so they let out all their delicious mushroomy essence. Keep them in the stock until later when you'll need them.
- In a big saucepan, warm the olive oil gently, then add the onions & garlic cook until translucent.
- Add the rice and stir until slicked with the oil & mixed in with the onions & garlic.
- Add the white wine & stir until soaked into the rice.
- Then. And this is the CRUCIAL bit with risotto. Add in a ladle of the stock. And Stir until soaked in over a lowish heat.
- And Repeat.
- And repeat.
- Try not to drink the rest of the bottle of wine whilst you do this.
- Repeat. ( I manage to make salad in between stirrings- it's a sort of add stock, stir, chop for a minute, stir again action)
- If you start running out of stock, add more hot water from the kettle.
- After about half an hour of stirring test the rice.
- The rice should be just getting soft, and getting risotto-y on the outside, but still be a bit chalky in the middle.
- Pull the shitake out of the broth, squeezing them hard to get the moisture out & the last of their juicy flavour, and chop the caps really finely.
- Put a ladle of stock in and stir again.
- Add the mushrooms,
- Ladle of stock- and stir.
- Add the peas and spinach. Plus a ladle of stock.
- And.. you got it... stir.
- Let the peas cook & the spinach wilt.
- Check the rice is fully cooked through.
- If it isn't,add more stock & stir.
- Now. Add in the miso, a sprinkle of salt & pepper and the sesame oil.
- Taste- and add extra miso/salt/pepper/sesame oil to taste
- Serve hot in bowls
- Scoff and spoon.
- Collapse into a satisfied carb coma.