Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Shaved Black Truffles

A classic dish of Northern Italy, there is nothing more heartwarming than a lovingly prepared Risotto con Funghi. Rich, aromatic and intensely full flavoured, this sensational Wild Mushroom Risotto gets its intoxicating flavour from a seductive combination of fresh shiitake and cremini mushrooms, a jar of precious 'Tartufo Nero Estivo a Fette', black summer truffles sliced and sealed at the peak of their freshness, which we picked up in a little shop in Siena earlier this Spring, and the ultimate "trufflepalooza" luxury: a drizzle of powerful white truffle oil and prized whole black truffle that we purchased the previous week in London's Borough Market. The first truffles of the Italian season, we brought our 'black diamond' back wrapped in tissue and sealed in a glass jar, to keep it fresh and fragrant. The fabulous flavours of these gorgeous mushrooms with sautéed leeks infuse the risotto made with plump Carnaroli rice, and absorbs the dark full-bodied mushroom stock until it's meltingly tender. Add cognac and cream with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano stirred in at the end, and you have a symphony of flavours with the scent of truffle rising like a seductive mist.

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Cognac, Cream & Shaved Truffles
Serves 2

2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced

8 oz brown cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
Maldon salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Cognac or brandy
1/2 cup light or whipping cream
2 tbsp Tartufo Nero Estivo a Fette - sliced black summer truffles
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 black truffle, shaved - optional
2 tsp white truffle oil

5 cups mushroom or vegetable broth

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped leeks
1 tsp fresh thyme

1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice

For the condiment, heat the butter in a skillet over moderate heat. When it starts to foam, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to high, add the Cognac, and cook until it is reduced by half. Lower the heat, add the cream, and continue cooking until the cream has reduced slightly and thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

For the brodo, bring the broth to a steady simmer in a saucepan on the top of the stove.

For the soffritto, heat the butter and oil in a heavy 4-quart casserole over moderate heat. Add the leeks and thyme and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until it begins to soften, being careful not to brown it.

Add the rice to the soffritto and using a wooden spoon, stir for 1 minute, making sure all the grains are well coated. Begin to add the simmering broth, 1/2 cup at a time. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

After approximately 18-20 minutes, when the rice is tender but still firm, add the condiment (the mushroom, Cognac and cream mixture), Sumer Truffle Carpaccio, Parmesan, and parsley, and stir vigorously to combine with the rice. To serve, spoon into to 2 warmed bowls and garnish with shaved black truffle and sprig or two of fresh thyme.

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