From Perfect Risotto, Hermes House, 2004.
When a book has the adjective ‘perfect’ in it then you expect something really special. Mind you, it’s dicey adding that to the title when the perfection must depend partly on the person making the dish. For me, this dish did not turn out to be perfect, it was pretty good but perfect, no. I lay the disappointment on the use of lemon.
To begin I soaked about ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms in hot water for almost ¾ of an hour. Meanwhile I sliced a little over 2 cups of button mushrooms, placed them in a bowl and mixed the juice of ½ lemon with them. The mushrooms were cooked in a knob of butter until they had browned. I then added a handful of finely chopped parsley.
Now a pot of stock was put on to simmer and the porcini mushrooms were drained, adding the mushroom water to the stock.
An onion was chopped and added to a frying pan with a knob of butter and some olive oil. When the onion had softened, I added 1½ cups Arborio rice and stirred until the rice was well coated with the oil. Now were added the porcini mushrooms and the cooked mushrooms and stirred in.
The stock was now added a ladle at a time, waiting for each ladleful to be absorbed before the next. When the rice was cooked a knob of butter and some grated Parmesan cheese were stirred in and the risotto was served.
I found that the lemon juice had come through a little too strongly and slightly overpowered the mushrooms. I don’t think lemon and mushroom is a particularly good mix. The risotto was all right, though it would have been so much better without the lemon flavour.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔