Friday, October 8, 2010

Spring Baked Mushroom Risotto


{Image source: placid casual}
So, it's on my 30 before 30 list. It's been something I've been wanting to do for a while now. And I finally did it! I've been planning to make risotto for an age now (no seriously, I've literally been telling the hubs every night for 2 weeks). I mean, I've have at least a dozen conversations about it over the last two weeks, and Claudz, Marisa, Ally, Matt and Nina have all made it since then, we even had a Twitter Risotto Off planned, that I started. And yet I hadn't made it. That's wrong, right? So I gritted my teeth, and eventually the weather turned a little cooler, and last night was the night. The Night I Made Risotto. Deserves capitalisation, in my book! And I had this package, that I bought at the Good Food and Wine Show a few months ago, a kit with the arborio rice, dried mushrooms, seasonings and one or two other things. I used that, so I think this was a cheat, and I'll be doing it again.

I did, however, peel and shell a whole pack of broad beans for the little fava beans inside, and serve the risotto (I have my in-laws down, it was hard enough getting into the kitchen, without suggesting a purely vegetarian meal!) with pork sausages and sauteed asparagus. And let me tell you, that this was a crowd pleaser! I think I impressed the inlaws.. maybe I'll be allowed in the kitchen more often now.. Oh. And I just realised I bought the wrong cheese - how's that for a foodie fail? Ah well, alls well that ends well, right? And it was still delicious, if not perfect. Just means I'll have to keep at it until it comes out right, hey?

Spring Baked Mushroom Risotto

1 package of Cook me! Mushroom Risotto mix (500g)
1/2 an onion, diced
125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
750ml (2 1/2 cups) good quality stock - I used veggie stock
1 packet broad beans (here's a good how to for broad/fava beans)
1 bunch of asparagus (half for the risotto, half for serving)
250ml (1 cup) grated parmesan cheese (I used pecorino - foodie fail)
Glug of olive oil and a knob of butter

Fresh, unshelled fava beans
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat a heavy based pan, and put a knob of butter and some olive oil in.
  3. Fry the onion for a bit, until soft and translucent.
  4. Pour the rice mixture in, and turn up the heat. Stir to coat the rice in oil, and heat until it pops a little - you really want to toast them a bit.
  5. Pour the wine in, and stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. At this point, you can carry on on the stove top, stirring and incorporating the stock, ladle by ladle, but I had a couple of over things I still wanted to make, that needed my hands. So I decided to bake it.
  6. Transfer the rice mixture to an ovenproof dish, and pour in the stock, stirring it gently to make sure the stock is mixed in, and pop the whole thing into the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, steam your fava beans for a few minutes, until the skins wrinkle up and they go a dull, grey colour.
  8. Allow to cool, and peel them, revealing a bright green, nutty bean. Reserve, and stir into the risotto when you take it out.
  9. After 20 minutes, remove the risotto from the oven, and check that it's wet enough. Add some more stock if it looks dry - the oven is always hotter than the stove top (and mine doesn't seem to have a thermostat), so you'll probably need more liquid to keep it creamy. You'll see that the rice has swelled up a lot, and it'll swell up more and get creamier. Don't add the fava beans now, add them at the end.
  10. Put back into the oven for another 20 minutes, and start with the asparagus. 
  11. Snap the woody ends of your asparagus, and snap in half. The stalks are woodier than the tips, and need a little more cooking. So in the pot that you steamed the fava beans in, steam the broccoli stems for a few minutes, then add the tips for another. Say 3 minutes for the stems, and 2 for the tips, which brings it to 5 in total for the stems. Remove from the heat, and run under cold water to refresh.
  12. Chop the stems a bit smaller, and set aside with the shelled fava beans.
  13. When 20 minutes are up, take out the risotto out, stir some more liquid in if it's a bit dry, then stir in the chopped asparagus stems and the fava beans.
  14. Then stir in the cheese, handful by handful, getting it all worked in.
  15. Quickly stirfry the asparagus tips in some butter, garlic and lemon, and serve all hot.
This is a bit long winded, but you get the picture. The baked risotto is slightly less creamy, but I hear adding a cup of liquid right at the end helps with creaminess. It also means you're free to do other things, whether that's frying up some sausages, or hanging the laundry, which all helps in the end, right?

I still plan to try the stovetop risotto, when it's just the two of us. My boy can take a vegetarian meal, but the in-laws are rys, vleis en aartappels mense (rice, meat and potatoes people). They enjoyed this, I served it with some pork sausages, which they eat rarely, and I think it made a nice change for them. I would've liked it a bit creamier,but that gives me a great excuse to make it again, right?


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  1. Wrong cheese? Do not compute... :-)

    Good on you for finally getting round to the risotto making. And well done on overcoming your fear of broadbeans! Glad it turned out so well.

  2. Congrats!

    It looks great. They are easy to make, but you can't rush them, esp. if you go the stovetop route, which is highly recommended, and next time, no cheating, you have to make it from scratch ;-)




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