Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Portobello and Goat's Cheese Risotto

My baby brother just got his wisdom teeth removed... I've been through some rather intense dental surgery in the past, so I know first-hand how much it sucks to hardly be able to open your mouth to talk, let alone eat. And then chewing is incredibly painful...

To cheer up the bro, I got him the new Franz Ferdinand album and I made him a batch of something delicious he would not need to chew to enjoy! This is what's so wonderful about risotto: it's rich and creamy, but it's got a perfectly soft consistency that requires very little teeth! It's also great comfort food, and it's very filling.

Thanks to my best friend's careful instructions, I got pretty good at whipping up a delicious batch of risotto (my own tomato-basil recipe and this shrimp-lemon risotto were both huge, delicious hits), and I had wanted to try this recipe for a while. My brother loves mushrooms and cheese, so it was absolutely perfect!

The original recipe (from "Cookin' for Trouble" by Montreal's own Nadia G.) called for Gorgonzola cheese, and not goat's cheese. Personally, I love Gorgonzola, but it's a very strongly flavored blue cheese, so it's not for everyone... My brother has always preferred milder cheeses, and really, can you go wrong with goat's cheese? No, you can't. Choose a cheese with a soft, crumbling consistency as opposed to the ones that are very creamy and runny.

As with any other risotto recipe, get all your ingredients prepared and measured in advance. A risotto requires constant attention, so if you realize you have to run off to get your Parmigiano, do it at the risk of rice sticking to the pan. Just sayin': this is one instance in which being organized pays off. Also, an angled spatula is the best tool with which to stir to ensure no tiny grain of arborio is left behind.

My advice to make the 30-or-so minutes spent stirring go by faster: pour yourself a glass of the white wine when you are done measuring the cup that goes in the pot, and blast some fist-pumping music. Trust me, your risotto will be ready before you are done with the wine.

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 portobella mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps diced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup goat's cheese (or Gorgonzola, if you feel adventurous), crumbled
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
Sea salt and ground pepper

Pour the stock into a medium pot and heat to a simmer; keep it simmering over medium-low heat. In a large pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for about 1 minute, until golden. Add the onion and mushroom and sauté them for 3 minutes, until the mushrooms start releasing some moisture and become nice and fragrant.

Stir in the arborio rice and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring to make sure the grains of rice are covered with oil.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine and let it reduce completely, stirring.

Once the wine is gone, add the simmering stock 1 ladleful at the time. Let the rice absorb the stock, stirring constantly, and add the next ladleful, and so on until all 4 cups are mixed in and absorbed.

Fold in the cheeses and stir for a few minutes, until they have melted and are well incorporated.

Add a generous pinch of sea salt, several pinches of freshly cracked black pepper, mix and serve.

Now my brother is lucky I love him as much as I do, because as soon as I tasted the final result, I could have just kept on eating straight from the pan until there was nothing left... Earthy mushrooms, creamy, gooey, cheesy-ness, al dente arborio rice... My stars!!

My brother was very happy to get this luxurious risotto as a get-better treat! I wasn't there to see how fast he wolfed the whole thing down, but knowing him, it must have been gone in the blink of an eye.

Hope you get better soon, baby bro! xx

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