Wind, rain, occasional snow, cosy armchair and a cup of tea, heart-wrenching good book and delicious comfy food – this is my idea of winter perfection. Spring is really near, making us extremely happy with each new day, yet at home we are still enjoying plenty of deep nourishing dishes. Plus, plenty of fresh air walks, of course. One must compensate the other. Or at least, this is the general idea. Deep nourishing dishes include lots of stews, hot-pot meat & veggie dishes and lots of creamy pasta and risotto.
This mushroom truffle pesto risotto symbolizes the cold season in its full splendour and glory to me. Variety of mushroom types and sprigs of fresh thyme gently sizzled in melting butter. A velvet risotto ripened with wine and wild game and mushroom bullions. All mixed together with bacon and green peas for an additional texture and crunch and the final piece de resistance – truffle pesto, bringing depth and all risotto flavours to life.
There is absolutely nothing magic with risotto. The recipe is so easy to follow. But what en exquisite explosion of taste could be created with a steaming pot of rice, some simple key ingredients and plenty of good quality stock. My Italian friends seem to claim, that the secret of a good risotto is in the stock. For them, it is a real sacrilege to prepare risotto using only water! I follow their words of wisdom, gently stir and enjoy.
Serves 4 People
- 2 cups of risotto
- 125g chestnut mushrooms
- 125g oyster, chanterelle, shiitake mushrooms
- 100g bacon
- 90g truffle pesto
- 1 large chopped onion
- 250ml wild game bouillon/stock
- 250ml mushroom bouillon/stock
- 250ml white wine
- 200g green bean seeds
- black pepper
- olive oil
- 500ml water
- fresh thyme
- rocket salad
1. Heat a table spoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the chopped onions and let them soften until translucent for around 5 minutes.
2. Add two cups of risotto and fry stirring lightly until the risotto has become shiny and transparent. Pour in the white wine and half of the bouillon and let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the risotto starts to thicken add the remaining bouillon and pour two-three times some water until the rice is completely cooked.
3. Fry the bacon in a separate pan. Once ready, take the bacon out and set aside.
4. In the same frying pan add a little bit of olive oil, the chopped mushrooms and a few strigs of thyme. Stir gently for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and changed colour to lightly caramelized. Take the thyme strigs out. Season with salt and black pepper.
5. Add the bacon, two-thirds of the mushrooms and the fresh green bean seeds to the risotto and let it simmer for 5 minutes until all the flavours are absorbed.
6. Add the truffle pesto to the risotto and mix well.
7. Taste and if needed, season with additional salt and black pepper.
8. Add a few fresh thyme leaves.
9. To serve, place the risotto in separate dishes, place a few tables spoons from the remaining one-third mushrooms over every plate and garnish with rocket salad.