Firefighting Chef Paul Knapp is here with a wild mushroom risotto served on a garlic and thyme croute.
Risotto is so satisfying to prepare and never fails to impress. You might have heard that risottos are difficult to make but this one really isn’t. You do however need to dedicate 20 to 25 minutes of your time to standing with the pan and stirring as much as you can. This stirring helps to break down the starch in the rice which in turn makes the risotto extra creamy.
Black garlic is made when heads of (regular) garlic are aged under specialized conditions until the cloves turn inky black and develop a sticky date-like texture. And the taste? ... Sweet, earthy, minus the characteristic heat or sting — think of it as garlic's umami-packed shadow.
Ingredients: Olive oil 1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely 4/5 cloves of black garlic or normal fresh garlic chopped (try roasting your fresh garlic before you add it for a smoother flavour) 2 celery sticks, trimmed and chopped finely 400g Arborio/Risotto rice 75ml any white wine (a glass) Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 4 large handfuls wild mushrooms (try shiitake, girolle, chestnut or oyster), cleaned and sliced Few sprigs fresh thyme 1 juiced lemon 1 teaspoon vegan butter 1 small handful of vegan parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving Extra virgin olive oil 1.5 litres of simmering organic mushroom stock 1 handful dried porcini/shiitake mushrooms and some rocket for garnish A little truffle oil for drizzling is optional
Method: 1. Heat your stock in a saucepan and keep it on a low simmer. 2. In a large pan, heat a good glug of olive oil and add the onion and celery. 3. Slowly fry without colouring them for at least 10 minutes, then turn the heat up and add the rice, giving it a stir. 4. Stir in your glass of wine. Keep stirring until the liquid has reduced and cooked into the rice. 5. Add some of the chopped mushrooms, a good pinch of salt and your first ladle of hot stock. 6. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and encouraging the starch out of the rice (this is where the creamy texture comes from), allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. 7. Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite, al dente. This will take about 30 minutes. 8. Meanwhile, get a dry griddle pan hot and grill the wild mushrooms until soft. If your pan isn’t big enough, do this in batches. 9. Put them into a bowl and add the chopped herb of choice, eg thyme, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Using your hands, get stuck in and toss everything together – this is gives a tasty nutty citrus taste. 10. Take the risotto off the heat and check the seasoning carefully. Stir in the vegan butter and the vegan Parmesan or you can skip this if you wish. 11. You want it to be creamy and oozy in consistency and texture, so add a bit more stock if you think it needs it. 12. Put a lid on and leave the risotto to chill out for about three minutes. 13. Take your risotto and add a little more seasoning or Parmesan if you like. 14. Serve a good dollop of risotto topped with some grilled dressed mushrooms and rocket, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil.
For a garnish I simply sliced some of the mushrooms at the beginning, put them in a warm pan with a drop of olive oil and left them to cook very slowly, turning halfway. They kind of dry out a bit and go nice and chewy and toasty so make a fabulous garnish with some peppery rocket!