The Comfort of the Simple Things: Roasted Mushroom Risotto
The Octobre sun shines on the world and bathes the nature in the most beautiful way we can imagine: bright and colourful! Golden shades of orange, luminous red and somewhere in between the cool green of the conifers delight the eyes and tempt even couch potatoes like me to go outside. So I take my multicoloured scarf and a warm jacket, take my man by the hand and go into the woods to spy on nut-hunting squirrels (and to happily cheer out of joy if we happen to spot one).
The mushrooms are busily growing already, huddled against moss-overgrown logs or nestled down in rustling autumn foliage… ready to be picked up by skilfull strollers to be sizzled in good butter back home. We don’t really know about mushrooms so we let them grow and rather pick them at the farmer’s market. These days the selection is wonderfully huge and so I choose a variety of those small-grown ones I adore to take them home with us. Those are packed with the same flavour as their big fellows but can just be tossed into the pan without having to be cut in pieces beforehand.
Today we’ll cook risotto; something we usually prepare together. One stirs in the big, steaming pot, the other one takes care of the necessary glass of wine and the mushrooms. We just love to cook them in a simple way: In lots of butter and today with a little bit of crispy bacon, sweet honey and a generous gulp of warming Cognac with perfumy thyme and garlic on top. Added to the creamy risotto they are just perfect this way and again a proof for the comfort that comes with the simple things. Life is good!
Roasted Mushroom Risotto
Ingredients for 2 portions
For the risotto:
- 150-200 g risotto rice
- 1 glass dry white wine
- 1/2 liter broth
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 onion or shallot
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 generous tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small hand full freshly grated Parmesan
For the mushroom:
- 100 g mixed mushrooms of your choice
- 4 slices of bacon
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- 50 ml Cognac
- 1-2 tsp honey
- 4 branches of thyme
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 generous pinch of salz
- some chili powder
Heat up the broth for the risotto in a pot. Peel the garlic and the onions and chop them finely. Gently heat up the olive oil in a pot over medium temperature and add the garlic and onion. Let them cook gently for about 5 minutes and stir occasionally. Meanwhile prepare the mushrooms: Also peel and chop the garlic, cut the bacon in stripes, clean the mushrooms, and cut larger ones in half or in quarters. But the bacon into a pan and let it sizzle on medium temperature until it gets crisp.
Add the rice to the garlic and onion pieces in to pot, let it fry a second than pour the white wine over it. Add one ladle of broth and let the rice cook on medium temperature while stirring from time to time. As soon as the broth has almost fully been absorbed by the rice add another ladle of broth and keep on cooking and stirring from time to time. Repeat for about 15 minutes or until the broth is used up.
Meanwhile the bacon should be done: Fish it out of the pan and let it drain on a kitchen towel. Turn the temperature up a little bit and add the butter to the bacon fat. As soon as the fat start to smoke slightly add the mushrooms and fry them. After 2 mintutes they should already have browned a bit and after 5 minutes they should let go a bit of the fat that they have soaked up earlier. Deglaze them with the Cognac now, add honey, garlic, thyme and condiments, stir one more time and set the pan aside.
Try the rice and check if it is done or needs a bit more cooking time. It should still be just a little bit al dente and should make “creamy waves” in the pot, when you stir. If it needs a little bit more time or fluids add one more ladle of broth or water if the broth is used up. Is the risotto done switch off the stove, add butter, Parmesan and half of the mushrooms to it, stir shortly. Put the lid onto the pot and let the risotto rest für 2 minutes.
Divide it onto two plates, top it with the rest of the mushrooms, the crunchy bacon and some more freshly grated Parmesan. Serve quickly with a glass of wine.