Mushroom and Thyme Risotto with Pancetta
I have a new love in my life. It is slightly embarrassing, but ho hum, here goes, it's... Morrisons. Yep, the supermarket. Let me explain, a couple of weeks ago, I visited one of their newfangled fresh market stores and I was utterly blown away. On sale was the most varied and interesting fruit and veg I have ever seen. Things that I had never even seen before! It was amazing and I got stupidly excited. Ohh and there's mist (!). Some genius has come up with the idea that by spraying a fine mist over the vegetables, it keeps them perkier for longer. It also looks like some 80's music video (it's the dry ice effect), which is pretty awesome.
Anyways, I took a trip there (upsettingly, none of these stores are close to me, so it was a special trip) and came across some cool 'shrooms. I got giant King Oysters, dainty egg yellow chantarelles, and... wait for it... BLUE mushrooms. Blue! I just had to have them.
With such ace ingredients I had to make something that would put the mushrooms center stage, so what better way than with a delicious mushroom risotto. At home, I had some chestnut mushrooms, and also some dried mushrooms waiting to be used, so I added them to the mushroom mix. The risotto with the mushrooms, thyme and pancetta turned out to be damn good. Try it. It's yum...
Knob of Butter
1 Stick of Celery, finely chopped
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
2 Fat Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
150g Arborio Risotto Rice (Roughly one mug full)
Small Glass of White Wine
The leaves from a few springs of Fresh Thyme
500ml Hot Stock (Chicken or Vegetable)
Roughly 500g - 700g of Mixed Fresh Mushrooms, chopped. I used Chestnut, King Oyster, Blue Stalk and Chanterelles. Use the most interesting you can find - not the boring white mushrooms!
Small Handful of Dried Mushrooms
Freshly grated Parmesan
2-3 bits of Pancetta or Smoked Streaky Bacon per person
- In a mug put the dried mushrooms and pour in some just boiled water to about halfway. Stir and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes (or see packet instructions).
- Put the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and add in the celery, onions and garlic. Stir regularly and cook for about 5 minutes, without letting it colour.
- Stir in the rice and let it cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring.
- Add in the white wine and stir. Let it bubble for 3 or so minutes. Keep stirring so that the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan
- Add in the chopped fresh mushrooms. the sprigs of thyme and half of the stock, stir.
- Drain the soaked dried mushrooms but reserve the mushroomy water.
- Finely chop the soaked mushrooms and stir into the risotto along with the mushroomy water.
- Keep stirring the risotto every minute or so. When most of the stock in the risotto has been absorbed. add in the rest of the stock.
- In a frying pan, fry the pancetta or bacon until crispy, drain and cut up into pieces.
- By the time most of the stock in the risotto has been absorbed, the risotto rice should be cooked. If not, add a bit more stock (or water). You want the risotto to be quite oozy, so if it looks too thick, add in some stock or water to loosen it.
- Take the risotto of the heat, stir in a good grating of Parmesan, fresh black pepper and taste. Add more pepper, and salt if needed.
- Scatter over the pancetta pieces, few thyme leaves and a bit of grated Parmesan and serve.