Sunday, January 23, 2011

Porcini perfection

I’ve finally done it; the perfect risotto!

Porcini perfection

Regular readers will know that I recently moved to Switzerland, and that the last few weeks were madly chaotic. One thing I tried to do before I left was to clear out the contents of my pantry. So a few days before I left, I used the last of the caster sugar to re-do the chocolate and raspberry pavlova and the last of the Arborio rice, chicken stock and some dried porcini mushrooms for this week’s porcini risotto.

This is one of my favourites and this version was hands down the best risotto I’ve ever made. I certainly learnt my lessons after the seafood risotto debacle earlier.

Perfect porcini risotto
You might remember that in my post on seafood risotto, I saw an episode of Jamie Does where he visited ‘the risotto king’ in Venice and described the consistency of the perfect risotto as like being molten lava. This time I was determined to get the consistency perfect – and I did. By putting in extra stock at the end to make it slightly wetter than normal, and allowing the stock to soak up a little after taking the risotto off the heat, the consistency was not gluggy nor wet, but perfect ‘molten lava’. I was delighted to have made the perfect risotto at last.

I think having accidentally used my saut̩ pan might have helped РI usually use my saucepan. This time I grabbed my Scanpan saut̩ pan in a moment of abstraction and I think that might have contributed to helping with the good consistency. Having much more room in the pan allowed the rice to absorb the stock more evenly, allowing it to cook quicker than when I usually do it and it turns gluggy.

Hard to tell from this shot, but molten lava consistency
As for the taste, porcini mushrooms have an intense flavour, especially when they’re dried, which is the only the way I’ve found you can purchase them in Perth. By soaking the dried mushrooms in hot water, they soften enough to be able to chop them. Plus the water they’ve soaked can be added in place of stock for a richer, more concentrated flavour.

It all adds to a risotto that I will continue to make time and time again for something relatively quick, easy, simple and – most importantly – tasty.

N.B – until I find a house with a kitchen, I can’t make anything else, so this will be the last of the posts for a few weeks. But keep cooking!