Wild Mushroom Risotto

A deliciously creamy and flavorsome rice dish, with a true Italian taste. It's also very low in fat.

Vegetarian; can be made vegan. Hands-on time: 30 mins. Total time: 30 mins (plus soaking).

Contributed by Janey Macleod (April 2003).

This is a particularly nice risotto, full of flavor and with a delightfully creamy texture. What's more, the recipe is pretty foolproof, even for people who normally find cooking with rice difficult.

The secret is to choose the correct kind of rice. Look for the medium-grain Italian arborio variety. Or, for a really superb flavor, go for carnaroli or vialone nano. In the USA, these specialty rices are getting easier to find. In fact, there are some excellent domestic versions, although these are often labeled simply as risotto rice.

Another tip: Use a large pan with a solid base that will hold the heat well. And make sure it has a tight-fitting lid.

These quantities will make a light supper dish for two, or a side dish for four. It can be garnished with grated vegetarian parmesan or other hard cheese, or with sliced hard-boiled eggs, or, for a vegan version, with roasted cashew nuts.



Start by putting the dried mushrooms in a bowl and covering with warm water. Leave to stand for about half an hour.

Heat the oil and butter in the pan. Add the onions, celery and fresh mushrooms. Cook for five minutes.

Stir in the rice. Cook gently for a few more minutes until the individual rice grains are coated with the oil.

Add the dried mushrooms, along with the water they were soaking in. Bring to the boil and simmer gently with the lid on the pan. As the liquid is absorbed, add a little of the stock or water. Continue to simmer. Proceed in this way, adding a little stock at a time, until the rice is tender (about 20 minutes). Add more stock as necessary to prevent the mixture from getting too dry, or remove the cover and simmer rapidly to get rid of any excess stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note on quantities and temperatures:
Quantities are given in American (cups), imperial (oz, fl oz) and metric (g, ml) units. Do not mix the units - use one or other system throughout the recipe.
See also How much does a cup weigh?
oz = ounces, fl oz = fluid ounces, g = grams, ml = milliliters, tsp = teaspoons, tbsp = tablespoons.
Oven temperatures are given in degrees F (Fahrenheit) and C (Celsius).
For fan-assisted ovens, reduce the temperature by 20F or 10C.