3cloves ofgarlic (two for the risotto one for the mushrooms)put through a garlic press or finely minced
400g(2 ¼ cups) of arborio ricedry weight
75ml(⅓ of a cup) of white wine
1.4litres of(approx 5 cups) of hot vegetable stockmade with boiling water and 4 ¼ tablespoons of vegetable bouillon.
4 or 5sprigs offresh thyme
60g(approx ¼ of a cup) of butter divided into two equal portions
500g(1 lb) of chestnut mushrooms (brown mushrooms)wiped clean and sliced
70g(approx ¾ of a cup) finely grated Pecorino Romanoplus more for serving
½teaspoonsea salt (divided into two portions)
¼teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
40g(¼ of a cup) of pine nutstoasted (optional)
130g(1 cup) frozen peasI used frozen garden peas
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium to low heat in a large sautè pan.Add the chopped shallots along with a pinch of salt and cook until they are translucent and springy. Add two cloves of garlic that have been put through a garlic press and cook for a minute.
Turn up the heat a little bit then add all of the rice. Stir the rice into the chopped shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes until the rice is hot.Pour in the white wine, the wine should sizzle the minute it hits the pan. Stir continuously until the rice absorbs all of the wine.
Now turn down the heat slightly and add a ladle full of stock to the rice. Add the thyme to the rice now. Stir the rice often and once the rice absorbs the stock repeat adding one ladle at a time until all the stock has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.
While the risotto is cooking cook the mushrooms.Melt half the butter in a frying pan. Add the sliced mushrooms and 1 clove of minced garlic. Cook the mushrooms until they release their juices and they are brown. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your pan.Toss the mushrooms in the pan rather than stirring them.Once the mushrooms are cooked stir in one tablespoon of chopped parsley.Set the mushrooms aside until you are ready to use them, but keep them warm by covering the pan.
Once the rice has absorbed all the stock add the frozen peas and stir them into the risotto. Cook for a minute or two until the peas are hot. Check the seasoning now, add more salt or pepper if needed.Next, add the grated cheese, stir until the cheese is melted. Now turn off the heat and add the remaining butter and stir the risotto quickly until the butter is melted. You can now stir in two tablespoons of crème fraîche.
Finally, add the mushrooms and their juices to the risotto and stir well.Serve immediately with toasted pine nuts and extra cheese if you like.
Heat - Turn the heat up a bit when you add the rice. This seals the starch in the rice and adds a toasty, nutty flavour to the rice, which adds even more flavour to your risotto. When you add the wine, it should sizzle as soon as it hits the pan.
Rice - I use arborio rice for all my risottos. You can use carnaroli if you prefer. I have made this recipe with both and the arborio rice gave better results. It can be a personal choice though, if you prefer your risotto sticky and dense then carnaroli is for you.
Mushrooms - Cooking the mushrooms separately ensures that the mushrooms don't get overcooked. I used chestnut (brown/crimini) mushrooms, you can use other mushrooms if you like. Plain white or wild mushrooms will work really well.
Reheating - this risotto is best fresh but you can reheat it if you have any leftovers. Once the risotto has cooled keep it in the fridge and use it within 2-3 days. When you need to reheat it, take it out of the fridge and wait for it to be at room temperature before you reheat it. Add the risotto to a pan, add some stock or water to the pan and string for about 2-5 minutes. Make sure that it is piping hot and evenly reheated.
Freezing - I don't recommend freezing risotto as it can end up very stodgy or dry.
Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate. It is based on one serving of four and includes pine nuts.
Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible for best results.