Risotto is brilliant because it just involves rice, yet makes a lovely main meal. However, because you can’t use cheese or meat, you need to get some good strong flavours and stir it a lot to make it as creamy as possible (something to do with the starch in the grains). I serve this with a salad made from two large finely grated carrots mixed with 1tbsp cider vinegar. The sharp sweetness of the salad perfectly offsets the earthy flavours of the risotto.
3 tbsp olive oil
200g chestnut mushrooms
15g dried porcini mushrooms
350g risotto rice
1 litre vegetable stock
5 tbsp chopped parsley
salt to taste
Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, blitz the leek in a food processor or chop very finely. In a large heavy bottomed pan, pour in the olive oil. Add the leek and cook gently until soft. Add the rice and stir to get it coated in oil. Turn the heat up to a medium setting and after a minute, add all the stock.
This is the time I get on with other things in the kitchen – washing up etc., returning to the pan every few minutes to give it a good stir. It should start bubbling gently and you’ll see the liquid being absorbed.
When about half the liquid has gone, finely chop the chestnut mushrooms either by hand or in a food processor and then fry gently in a small pan until soft. Add them, and their seeped liquid, into the risotto. Add the soaked porcini mushroom and liquid. Keep stirring, more frequently now, until virtually all the liquid has gone and what you’re left with is rice and a sauce the consistency of cream. If the rice still feels a little uncooked, add some water and keep stirring until you get to the creamy stage again. Add a little pepper and salt to taste and then sit back and enjoy.