By nature, I am a rusher. I do everything fast. It is programmed into my brain that tasks must be completed as speedily as possible, even if that compromises the quality of my essay.
It is a trait I am trying to let go of. The art of the perfect risotto is giving it time to soak up every ounce of flavour, therefore I thought the risotto and I would clash. However, I found the whole process — adding ladle after ladle — extremely calming and satisfying.
A good mushroom risotto is hard to come by. Either the rice hasn’t been cooked properly, or the risotto is far too rich and lacks a deep mushroom flavour.
However, when a mushroom risotto is done well, it is the most comforting and satisfying meal there is. I hate to blow my own trumpet, but I think I may have mastered the skill. This mushroom risotto is the perfect balance of creaminess to mushroom flavour and the crispy bacon bits on top add depth of salty, smoky bit of bite.
300 g Arborio rice
1L chicken or veg stock
Medium glass of white wine
One pack of shitake mushrooms
One pack of chestnut Mushrooms
Eight rashers of streaky bacon
Three cloves of garlic
Knob of butter
Splash of single cream (optional)
A handful of grated cheese of your choice (to the dismay of Italians I love a bit of Cheddar but traditionally it should be a hard cheese like parmesan)
1. Cut the rashers of bacon up into 1cm strips
2. Fry off the bacon until crispy in the large deep frying pan that you will make the risotto in
3. Remove bacon from pan and put onto a kitchen towel to soak the excess fat
4. Add a little bit of oil to the fat in the pan and sweat the garlic and onion for 5 minutes
5. Add the mushrooms with some salt, pepper and dried herbs and cook for around 8 minutes (at this stage I pop in some chilli flakes but that is dependent on your taste buds)
6. Add the rice and give a good stir to incorporate all the ingredients
7. Add the glass of wine, let the alcohol evaporate
8. Once the rice has absorbed the wine add a ladle of the stock
9. Once the rice has absorbed the first ladle add another, repeat until all the stock is used up
10. Take the pan off the heat and add the butter, cream and grated cheese
11. Stir thoroughly
12. Plate up and add a handful of the crisply bacon to garnish