Mushroom risotto

Our Italian friend Silvia from New Zealand (very far from us! 🙂 ) sent us her version of mushroom risotto.

But first of all let’s go meet her.

Do you want to introduce yourself?
My name is Silvia Canessa and I am 43. I have 2 boys Riccardo 12 and Lorenzo 10 and a black labrador Maia. We moved to Wellington, New Zealand, 8 years ago. I am originally from Livorno, Toscana.

What’s your favourite Italian recipe which you use to prepare often and easily?

My favourite recipe is Cacciucco, but I can’t do it here because I can’t find the ingredients.
What I cook very often is the mushroom risotto because here it is very easy to find fresh mushrooms.

(The Cacciucco is a traditional fish stew associated with the two seaside towns Livorno and Viareggio – Tuscany. This poor but delicious and tasty dish, is made with a wide variety of Mediterranean fish such as shellfish, scorpionfish, small clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari. cuttlefish, octopus, bream, mullet. According to tradition, to prepare a good Cacciucco you should have at least five different types of fish, one for each letter c in cacciucco.
The best restaurants where you can taste this dish are Trattoria 11 – Livorno  and Ristorante Conti Montenero – Livorno.)

What product do you miss mostly from Italy?

I miss the mozzarella, you can buy it here but it’s extremely expensive and not so tasty and fresh as the Italian one.

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Ingredients for 4 servings:

400 gr (2 cups – 14 oz) Vialone or Carnaroli risotto rice
500 gr (2,2 cups – 17 oz) fresh mix mushrooms (cleaned and chopped)
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
a small bunch parsley
1 smal onion, chopped
1,5 l (6 cups) of meat or vegetable stock
1/2 glass white, dry wine
100 gr (0,5 cup – 3,5 oz) freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
Salt

Heat the broth and keep it boiling.

Put in a medium frying pan the garlic crashed with the palm of the hand, the mushrooms and the oil, let them sautè very gently, without colouring, until soft. Quickly pour in the wine; you will smell the alcohol immediately, so keep stirring all the time until it has evaporated.  Remove from the heat and keep aside.

In an other large pan like a wok, melt the butter, add the onion and gently sauté them, until soft. Pour the rice in and toast for few minutes, don’t let the rice catch on the bottom of the pan, so keep it moving.

Turn the heat down and add a ladleful of broth, the rice shouldn’t cook too quickly, otherwise the outside of each grain will be stodgy and the inside hard and nutty.  After few minutes add the mushrooms, gently bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until almost all the broth has been absorbed.

Add the rest of the broth, a ladleful at a time, until the rice is cooked (15 – 20 minutes). You might not need all the broth. Be careful not to overcook the rice. It should hold its shape but be soft and creamy. Turn off the heat, add the butter, the Parmesan and the chopped parsley, gently mix well. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to rest for a minute. Serve with Parmesan.

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