Just in case you were wondering why I haven't been blogging much in the last month, I was super busy. My Mum was staying with us for a month, plus my in-laws came visiting from Italy for a week. That and the back to school hullabaloo left me with not much time for blogging. My in-laws have left, my Mum flew back to Russia this very morning (sob! I miss her already), and now I will need to catch up on one zillion posts that I have planned. I haven't been entirely distracted from my hobby, as I kept cooking and taking photos, but writing and editing photos was put on hold.
When my in-laws were visiting, I cooked most of our dinners - apart from one evening when we went out to The Fleece. One of the meals that I cooked recently was a mushroom and chestnut risotto.
I have recently received my big prize from Grana Padano - a whole big wheel of cheese weighing 18kg (if you don't remember how I won it - have a look at the post - Grana Padano Top Chef Blogger Competition). That's a year's supply of cheese. I didn't imagine it would arrive all in one go. I've been sharing it with friends and neighbours, and even insisted that my in-laws and Mum should take some cheese with them, though I do appreciate it might be funny to bring an Italian cheese back to Italy.
I have also been adding it to lots of meals. It is such a beautiful tasty cheese, wonderful to nibble on and excellent in cooking too.
I've had a pack of whole natural chestnuts which are already peeled and cooked and kept in a vacuum sealed bag since before Christmas. I remember they were on offer, and I was a tad over-enthusiastic and bought several packs. I suppose I could have kept it until the next Christmas, but I wanted to cook a risotto for dinner and liked the sound of the recipe printed in the back of the box.
I have adapted the recipe, halved the amount of chestnuts and used different mushrooms as well as did some other minor changes.
Mushroom and chestnut risotto
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
200g mixed exotic mushrooms
200g arborio rice
2tbsp olive oil
450ml vegetable stock + more if needed
100ml white wine (or mix of dry white and rose)
100g whole cooked chestnuts (for example, Porter Foods Whole Natural Chestnuts)
100ml single cream
Grana Padano, to grate over the risotto
Finely chop an onion, add oil to the frying pan and gently fry the onion for about 5 minutes, then add the butter and chopped mushrooms. I used a pack of mixed exotic mushrooms for extra flavour, but a combination of white and chestnut mushrooms will work as well. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
Add the arborio rice, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. The rice should be well coated in oil and butter. Pour the wine over the rice, cook stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Ladle some of the vegetable stock over the rice, keep stirring while cooking. Keep adding the stock until most of it has been used, then add the single cream and chopped chestnuts.
It will take 25+ minutes for a risotto to be ready. For an authentic taste, it should still be al dente. If you prefer your risotto to be well done, keep cooking until you get your desired consistency and texture.
Serve hot, with a generous helping of grated cheese on top.
Grana or Parmesan, the choice is yours.
In case you're curious I love Gallo arborio rice for cooking risottos. It's a superior rice with an excellent taste.
As I used a semi-forgotten pack of chestnuts in this recipe, I'm adding this post to #KitchenClearout linky run by Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews.