"If you’ve ever been fearful of making risotto, I’m letting you know there’s no need! It’s been a phobia of mine until last year, when a good friend gifted me a bag of excellent risotto rice. Around the same time I had just started my own vegie patch and had silverbeet coming out my ears. My market neighbour is a mushroom grower so we always have plenty of mushies in the fridge. With all this goodness around me, I essentially got guilted into conquering a fear. Now, it’s a weekly staple." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2
- 50 g dried porcini (see Note)
- 700 ml hot water
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 6 sprigs thyme, torn
- 5 leaves silverbeet (Swiss chard) or spinach, rinsed well, stalks very thinly sliced, leaves cut into 1 cm wide strips
- 300 g field mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 350 g arborio or carnaroli rice
- 80 g unsalted butter, chopped
- 100 g Parmesan, finely grated
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- salt and black pepper (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the porcini and hot water in a heatproof bowl and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Remove the porcini with a slotted spoon and strain the liquid through a fine sieve over a bowl or jug. Set aside.
Place the chicken stock in a saucepan and heat until it just comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and thyme and cook until for 4–5 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not coloured. Add the silverbeet stalks, field mushrooms and porcini and cook for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened slightly. Add the silverbeet leaves and stir to wilt.
Add the rice and stir to combine, then add 500 ml (2 cups) of the strained porcini liquid. Flatten the rice so the surface is even, then ladle in enough of the stock to just reach the surface. Continue to cook, folding the rice a few times so the grains cooking evenly; as the stock is absorbed, add another ladleful, tasting after each one is absorbed to check if the rice is tender. A tiny chalky centre is considered perfectly al dente; if you want it tender all the way through, add a bit more stock. Add the butter, then stir to melt.
Grate over the Parmesan and season with pepper to taste. Fold to combine, then season with salt to taste. Serve immediately with a garnish of chopped parsley.
• When draining porcini, never pour the porcini and liquid through a sieve in one go. Instead, use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop the porcini out, then ladle out the liquid gently, making sure not to disturb any grit or sediment on the bottom of the bowl. Another method of removing the grit is to strain the liquid through muslin or a very fine sieve after removing the mushrooms.
• I like to season this with porcini salt (available from specialty food stores), but regular sea salt flakes is fine.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.
Poh & Co. 2 Thursdays at 8.30pm on SBS.
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