Friday, 27 April 2012

Mushroom and Thyme Risotto with Pancetta

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...

Make enough for two, plus left overs

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

  1. 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). 
  2. 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.  
  3. Stir in the rice and let it cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring. 
  4. 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
  5. Add in the chopped  fresh mushrooms. the sprigs of thyme and half of the stock, stir. 
  6. Drain the soaked dried mushrooms but reserve the mushroomy water. 
  7. Finely chop the soaked mushrooms and stir into the risotto along with the mushroomy water. 
  8. 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.  
  9. In a frying pan, fry the pancetta or bacon until crispy, drain and cut up into pieces.  
  10.  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. 
  11. 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.  
  12. Scatter over the pancetta pieces, few thyme leaves and a bit of grated Parmesan and serve. 

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