We had some neighbours over for dinner during the week. I was looking forward to it immensely. My partner had befriended them and thought they could do with a feed of non-frozen easy meals. They are a great couple, a fine arts student and a grind-core/punk musician. I have no idea what grind-core is, but get the impression that it’s a particular type of metal music. While I do like the idea of making friends with your neighbours, it seems I am too often away from home, and when I do come home, I’m tired, and looking to crawl into my own little cave for regeneration. My partner is much better at the whole thing. I was very much looking forward to riding on his coat tails.
Anyway, I wanted to whiz them up a delightful dish that would meet their vegetarian requirements. I decided to make my mushroom and truffle risotto. It is a dish I love dearly. It’s oh so easy, and hugely rewarding. I do believe it went down a treat. I used a whole selection of fresh mushrooms as well as the dried forest mushrooms required. The drizzle of truffle oil at the end makes the dish simply heavenly, unless of course, like my partner, you don’t like mushrooms.
Heavens we had a great night, I was glad to make two new friends. They are a very bright and engaging young couple and I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner time discussions about politics and religion. All the great things one isn’t supposed to talk about. We had some great conversations about ethical and sustainable food, and it occurred to me that food doesn’t get much more sustainable than locally grown mushrooms! What fun I had!
|20||grams||dried forest mushrooms soaked in|
|2||cups||dry white wine|
|1||tablespoon||fresh thyme leaves|
|fresh ground black pepper and sea salt|
|2||teaspoons||white truffle oil|
|1/2||teaspoon||fresh thyme leaves and flowers for serving|
In a small saucepan, soak the mushrooms in the boiled water for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms from soaking liquid and chop roughly. Retain soaking liquid. Place a larger saucepan over a low heat, melt butter and add thyme, onion and garlic. Cook slowly till the onion goes transparent. Add rice. Cook, stirring till coated with butter. Add mushrooms and season liberally with fresh ground black pepper. Add white wine to the saucepan containing mushroom liquid, keep on the stove at the temperature just before boiling. Ladle liquid into the rice a little at a time, stirring till each ladle is fully absorbed. Continue This process until the rice is cooked, but still has a little bite in the centre. If you are running out of liquid, simply add some water to the wine/mushroom mix. Season with salt and pepper.* Stir through grated parmesan cheese, mixing till well combined.
To serve: place a serve of risotto on the plate. Drizzle over ½ teaspoon of white truffle oil. Garnish with fresh ground black pepper and fresh thyme leaves/flowers.
*If you want to also use fresh mushrooms, simply sauté them in a pan with some black pepper and a little butter, and add to the risotto before stirring through the parmesan cheese. I like to leave the oyster mushrooms out and place them on top to garnish. I prize them for their texture and delicate flavour, that is best preserved on top.