Creamy mushroom risotto with garlic crumble topping

April 26, 2012

The garlic crumble topping gives a great crunchy texture
contrast to the oozy melting risotto and is a nice
alternative to soggy garlic bread
The risotto, whilst simple and easy peasy to make, is such a comfort food but it's prime characteristic, its melting, creamy, softness can make it a bit texturally bland. Liven up your beautiful risotto by topping it off with this lovely mushroom and garlic crumble, little pieces of crispy, garlicky crunch adorning the top of your glistening risotto will make it absolutely amazing!


Serves 2 with a 1 lunchtime portion for Charlie, or any other loved one you may have.

240g arborio rice
1 lt water
1 chicken stock cube
splash of white wine, about half a glass
80g dried porcini mushrooms
2 tsps dried tarragon
100g white mushrooms
1 red onion
20g parmesan cheese freshly grated or shaved
salt and pepper

For the crumble-

3 slices of stale bread, I used seeds bread which gave a really nice nutty flavour
2tsp finely chopped garlic
4/5 chestnut mushrooms, any mushrooms that look a bit more interesting are nice, like shitake
a large knob of butter

First you need to make your stock, I do this by taking a large jug, like one you would use to fill with a cocktail or juice. I know mine holds about a litre. Crumble your stock cube into the jug and pour in the porcini mushrooms, shake over the tarragon and fill the just with just boiled water (make sure your jug can take it!) to the top. Give it a stir and leave to stand whilst you get on with the risotto.

Finely chop the red onion and white mushrooms, I gave them a quick blitz in a food processor, that way they are done quickly and i get a nice erratic chop through them. Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until soften in a deep frying pan for about 5 mins then tumble in your rice. Stir the rice around to coat in oil and continue to fry for another 3-4mins.

Splash in your white wine now, it should bubble and fizz away very quickly in the heat, when its disappeared, turn the heat on the pan down and pour in about a mug of your stock mixture making sure to hold back any of the porcini mushrooms. Stir in the stock, again is should being to disappear but less fiercely that the wine, the rice should also start to look as though it has a thin creamy coating on it and become a little stuck together. Continue to add mug fulls of stock and wait for it to absorb into the rice before adding more, make sure you hold back the mushrooms each time you pour the stock in.

When you get to the bottom 2 inches of stock, when the porcini are just covered by liquid take an electric stick blend or pour the last of the mixture into a blender and whizz until its a thick, chocolaty soup. Use this as you have used the stock, it will enrichen the risotto and make it a gorgeously rich colour with a very deep flavour.

Leave the risotto on a very low heat to continue to melt whilst you prepare the crumble. Using the food processor blitz the bread into uneven breadcrumbs, you can chop the bread with a knife but try and get an uneven mix of size so some are bite sized and some are like a fine sand.

Slice the chestnut mushrooms carefully so they keep their shape or if you are using shitake or oyster mushrooms just tear them in half or into thirds so they keep they nice shape. In another frying pan melt the butter and shake in the garlic, let it fizz for a couple of seconds then throw in your mushrooms, stir them through the garlicky butter until they are coated and begin to sizzle. Now pour over your breadcrumbs, they will look like a big soggy mess for a while but keep them spread out of the pan and give them a shake every few minutes, as they fry they will become golden and crispy and more separate.

To serve your risotto season to taste with salt and pepper, then spoon a good portion of rice onto the centre of a deep plate and allow to melt into the plate, sprinkle over some of your garlic and mushroom crumble then shave on some fresh parmesan... enjoy with a really crisp, cold glass of white wine, or two!

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