Friday, 5 February 2016

easy mushroom risotto, small talk & public speaking

Yesterday I attended a very inspiring magazine event launching a special edition on Bangladeshi literature. I bumped into a few people I knew (which is always nice) and briefly caught up with my good friend N. N loves literature as much as I do and is usually my plus one when it comes to creative events. I love the intimacy of small get-togethers and events but put me in a large room and I feel as though I’m in danger of turning into a wallflower. If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know how much I cherish solitary moments so you’ll most likely find me observing more than working the room, switching business cards.

The guest speakers were very eloquent and the two women who read were mesmerising, their voices clear and lyrical as they recited poetry and read short fiction. I’m not much of a public speaker so listening to them I comfortably leaned back into my chair knowing the stage was suited to their flawless voices. I was glad the audience were not subjected to my kind of reading – which meant staring at a piece of paper the whole time and not making eye contact. I have a deep admiration for public speakers and how they turn the task I dread into an art form.

I wish I had a great segue into this recipe but I don’t, the magazine didn’t feature mushrooms neither did the refreshments. However, this is a great recipe even if I do say so myself. Mushroom risotto is one of my favourite meals. It’s simple, satisfying and sophisticated without trying too hard. I couldn’t get hold of dried porcini mushrooms and used Portobello mushrooms instead – which tasted fantastic. To intensify the mushroom flavour even more I reserved a mushroom to sauté in butter and top the risotto with once it was done, which provided a slightly crispy addition to the dish.

Ingredients (2 servings)
175g risotto rice
3 Portobello mushrooms (about 200g)                                                                        
Half a small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 litre vegetable stock (hot water and a stock cube)
2 tbs Olive oil
Knob of butter
¼ tsp chilli flakes

In a deep pan sauté the garlic and onions in the olive oil about 5 minutes until light golden on medium high heat.

Thinly slice 2 of the mushrooms (reserving 1 for the topping) and sauté with the onions until the mushrooms have wilted, about 2 minutes.  Add the dried herbs, chilli flakes and some freshly ground pepper.

At this point add the rice and mix thoroughly. Add about 100ml of stock. Turn heat to a simmer and stir until the liquid is absorbed before adding another 100ml or so of stock. Continue adding the same amount until each addition is absorbed. This will take about 30 minutes.

Take the risotto off the heat and add grated parmesan (about 25g).

Coarsely chop the reserved mushroom and fry 2-3 minutes in a frying pan with knob of butter.

Topped the risotto with the fried mushrooms and extra parmesan.

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