Ceps are not cheap but they are worth every penny in our opinion. If you can’t get ceps, or you are not feeling extravagant, you can use other fresh wild mushrooms. This is a very rich and luxurious dish.
Cep Risotto – to serve 4
- about 8 pieces of dried porcini (ceps), roughly chopped
- 250g fresh porcini, wiped clean (don’t wash them)
- 75g butter
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 150ml dry white wine
- 2.5 litres good chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 onion, chopped super fine
- 400g vialone nano rice
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 75g cold butter, cut into small dice
- 100g finely grated Parmesan
Soak the dried porcini in a bowl of water for a couple of hours or until soft. Lift the porcini out of the water and squeeze to get rid of extra moisture.
Slice the fresh porcini lengthways.
Heat 20g of the butter in a sauté pan over a low heat, add the garlic and cook until soft but not coloured. Add the fresh porcini slices with 2 tbsp of the wine and toss around for a minute over a low heat, you want the mushrooms to stew rather than fry. Season, cover with a lid and set aside.
Bring the stock to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.
Melt the first 75g of butter in a heavy-based pan and add the chopped onion. Cook gently until soft but not coloured (about 5 minutes).
Add the dried porcini, then the rice and stir to coat the grains in the butter. Make sure the grains are warm before adding the rest of the wine. Let the wine evaporate completely so the onion and rice are dry.
Start to gradually add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring the rice all the time. Wait until each addition of stock has almost evaporated before adding any more. Keep cooking like this for about 15 minutes, adding the stock and stirring continually as above. Taste and keep cooking until the grains are soft, but still have a little bite.
Turn the heat down and add the fresh porcini and the parsley. Allow the risotto to rest for a minute, then vigorously beat in the 75g cold diced butter with a wooden spoon and then the Parmesan. Season to taste and serve.
Wine Suggestion: Something with a bit of what wine geeks call sous bois (forest floor) or in other words some earthy or mushroomy flavours. Pinot Noir is a classic match and an oaked Chardonnay similarly, but given the Italian inspiration this would also pair beautifully with an elegant and developed Barolo or an aged Brunello di Montalcino.
(Original recipe from Georgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy Food & Stories, Fourth Estate, 2006.)