We love risotto and I usually prepare it once a week. A good risotto requires homemade stock and half an hour or so of stirring, but it is worth it to get a creamy consistency with a bite and a great depth of flavor. This risotto is my variation of a recipe that was recently posted by Bea. She uses luganega sausage, which is what pork sausage is called in Lombardia and Veneto, but any sweet Italian pork sausage will provide a great result. The combination with the dried porcini mushrooms works really well — the nice thing about dried porcini mushrooms is that the soaking liquid adds a lot of ‘forest’ flavor and aroma to the risotto.
For 2 servings
130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice, such as carnaroli or arborio
1 Italian pork sausage, about 80 grams (3 oz), taken out of its casing and chopped
25 grams (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 litre (2 cups) homemade meat stock or chicken stock
120 ml (1/2 cup) red wine
1/4 litre (1 cup) boiling water
1 shallot, minced
2 Tbsp butter, divided
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow the mushrooms to soak for at least 10 minutes.
Heat the stock and keep it close to boiling.
Meanwhile, sauté the sausage and shallot, seasoned with a bit of salt, in a tablespoon of butter…
…until the sausage starts to color and the shallot has softened. Add the rice and stir for another minute…
…then add the red wine.
Simmer over medium heat, stirring, until the wine has been absorbed.
Add a ladle of hot stock…
…and stir until it has been absorbed. Then add another ladle of stock, and keep stirring and adding more stock as needed.
When you almost run out of stock, it is time to turn your attention momentarily to the mushrooms.
Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through kitchen paper to remove any sand, and roughly chop the mushrooms. Put the mushroom liquid in the pot with the stock and keep it hot.
Add the chopped mushrooms to the rice, together with a ladle of mushroom liquid. Keep stirring and adding liquid…
…until you taste that the rice is al dente.
Add a final ladle of liquid, then turn off the heat.
Add the remaining tablespoon of butter together with a couple of handfuls of parmigiano.
Stir until the butter and cheese have integrated with the rice. This is called mantecare. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow the risotto to rest for a couple of minutes.
Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with some more parmigiano.
Marzipan is often colored using food coloring and all kinds of figures are made of it. For an autumnal dessert I thought it would be nice to make marzipan mushrooms. And instead of using food coloring, I decided to color as well as flavor the marzipan using mushroom extract. This worked very well, as the marzipan mushrooms do not only look like mushrooms, but their flavor and scent also has a nice hint of mushrooms.