This dish is popular throughout northern Italy, especially in Piedmont, and together with truffle risotto and risotto nero, is one of my favourite dishes.
Risotto con Porcini
- 350g (12 oz) firm small fresh ceps, or 350g (12 oz) fresh button mushrooms plus 25g (1 oz) dried porcini
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 55g (2 oz) butter
- 350g (12 oz) risotto rice
- 1.7 litres (3 pints) chicken stock, simmering
- 55g (2 oz) Parmesan, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Faced with the perennial problem of finding fresh ceps in generous quantities, you can use ordinary mushrooms plus a few dried porcini for extra taste. But this risotto is also eminently suitable for those wild mushrooms that you have gathered in season then frozen.
- Gently clean the ceps or other mushrooms, using a sharp knife and a brush (avoid washing them whenever possible). If you are using dried porcini, put them to soak in a small bowl of water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the fresh ceps or mushrooms.
- Fry the onion in the oil and half the butter. When the onion begins to colour, add the sliced fresh mushrooms and continue to fry over a moderate heat for a couple of minutes. If using the dried porcini, chop them into small pieces and add to the mushrooms, keeping the water they soaked in to add to the risotto later with the stock. Add the rice and proceed according to the basic risotto method.
- When the rice is al dente, remove from the heat, season and stir in the remaining butter and Parmesan. Serve hot.