It always surprises me when I hear people say that risotto takes a long time to make, or that it is fussy. I credit Jamie Oliver for introducing me to real Italian risotto, and I have riffed on his recipes ever since. I admit that my first attempts took me a while to make. However, now that I have made my own pared-down versions dozens of times, I can make risotto in 25 minutes, from chopping board to table. The trick is to prep your vegetables between stirs, while the rice is bubbling. Here’s my quick Mushroom Risotto, with a note about adding meat for the carnivores:
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 litre (4 cups) broth (your choice)
- 2 cups of assorted mushrooms, sliced
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 30 g (1 ounce) of parmesan, grated
- salt and pepper
- optional: bits of leftover roast chicken or smoked meat
1. Start a litre of broth simmering gently at the back of your stove. I use a good quality organic vegetable broth from concentrate. It is your choice, depending on what flavours you want to throw in at the end.
2. In a separate saucepan, sauté arborio rice in a glug of olive oil at medium high heat. A cup of rice will do for four people. Once the rice is coated in the hot oil, pour in a cup of white wine – it will let off plenty of steam and smells divine.
3. Stir while the rice absorbs the wine, then pour a ladleful of broth into the pot. Give it a stir from time to time, while you sauté some mushrooms in a separate pan. I used shitake, button, oyster, porcini and nameko, but use whatever you have available.
4. When each ladleful of broth is almost completely absorbed, you can add another and continue stirring. Meanwhile, save time by chopping some spring onions and grating some parmesan between stirs. We will use these later.
5. Once you have stirred in the final ladleful of broth, and have given the rice a chance to absorb most of it, you are ready to add your main flavourings. In this case, we are using sautéed mushrooms and spring onions. Throw them into the rice and give them a stir. At this stage, you could add to this risotto by throwing in leftover diced roast chicken or smoked meat, if that is your thing. Take your risotto off the heat while it has a loose and glossy consistency.
6. Stir in the grated parmesan and adjust your seasoning. Done in 25 minutes!