Ok, I am so terribly behind on the Cooking Italy schedule that it’s kind of a miracle that I made the risotto that is scheduled for december 14th ahead of schedule…But then again; I didn’t exactly follow the recipe that Marcella gave, so not sure if this counts as having finished the recipe.. lol… I was planning on using porcini, as I really do like porcini, but for some reason my supermarket was out of the porcini and I had set my mind on making risotto, after first thinking I was going to make Olga’s pasta (which I will be making soon!) and then thinking to follow Lisa’s suggestion of another pasta to in the end decide to make risotto… So far for making up your mind before going to the store!!
Not being able to use the porcini I settled for using another dried mushroom which they did have in the store and that was cantharelles. It wasn’t very long ago that I tried my first cantharelle fresh and so I had never tried the dried version before and can’t say that I liked it either. My guess is that the mushrooms were rather old; they even smelled ‘dusty’!! I had them soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and then they had to be cooked for 10 minutes. Cantharelles are known to be difficult to clean and these ones were even harder to clean judging by the mouthful of sand Tom had to swallow later on..Oops.. I did rinse them when still dry and cleaned them again once cooked. I did not use the soaking liquid which I do like to do when using porcini, but it just didn’t smell very good, so I skipped that part.
Instead of sticking to the ingredients in the recipe I added some peas in for color and taste. Plus I added fresh chestnut mushrooms as well. Which was a good thing after all since the dried ones where not that tasty. For the broth I used forest mushroom cubes as I had tried that before with risotto and really liked the mushroomy flavor that comes out of them. They are only around at this time of year, as it’s not a common flavor for making stock.
I do make risotto very often and this was not the best of them due to the – not so tasty – chantarelles, but it was still a decent meal. As was Tom’s remark when taking a second helping; ‘ for a vegetarian meal it’s quite tasty’..I can see how this would work really well with porcini and I might even throw in a few crispy baked pancetta bits.
I hope to make another of Marcella’s dishes for tomorrow! I have been meaning to make the amatriciana pasta now for a while, but every time something was missing and now I seem to have all the ingredients!