This is the best, most delicious risotto I've ever made, all thanks to my friend Valentina sharing her family recipe.
When she talked me through how to make this, we also chatted about family, food and memories - if you'd like to know more then head over here.
But if you 'just' want this gorgeous recipe, then here's what you need to make the most beautiful mushroom risotto for two.
half a 25g packet of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
a selection of mushrooms - I used about 8 white and chestnut mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
1 vegetable stock cube (I used chicken as I didn't have a veggie one) made into stock with 1 litre of boiling water
about 3/4 cup risotto rice
2 tablesppons grated fresh parmigiano cheese
3 teaspoons mushroom concentrate (optional)
1 tablespoon double cream
salt and black pepper, to season
chopped fresh parsley to serve
Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for 20 minutes.
Put a saucepan over a low heat, add some extra virgin olive oil and tip in the onion and garlic plus a pinch of salt.
Cook over a low heat for around ten minutes until soft or, as Valentina says, until 'it makes gold' (but not brown, you don't want them browned).
In the meantime, chop the fresh mushrooms into small pieces.
When the onions and garlic are soft, add the mushrooms to the pan and continue cooking on a low heat, stirring every now and then.
After the mushrooms have been cooking for around 10-15 minutes, add one ladle of the stock and stir in.
Now add the risotto rice - the rice will absorb the little water that comes from the mushrooms so you need to stir constantly for the first 30 seconds.
Then slowly add another ladle of the stock and keep stirring so the rice doesn't burn.
Now strain the dried mushrooms, add and again, stir in.
All you need to do now is add a ladle of stock at a time and stir until it is absorbed.
Continue doing this until the rice is creamy and all the water absorbed. You might not need the full litre of stock or you might need to add a little more water.
It's going to take quite a while, perhaps 20 minutes, so you do just have to take it slowly, be patient and surrender to the whole long beautiful process of making a risotto.
When the rice is creamy and just before you turn off the heat, add two tablespoons of grated Parmigiano cheese, three teaspoons of mushroom concentrate ( if you have it) and one tablespoon of double cream.
Stir to combine, turn off the heat, season to taste and serve your risotto with a little chopped parsley.
PS. I have a confession.
I've made this twice now - both times I was home on my own and once I thought I'd leave a portion for the bf to have when he got home and the other time i thought I'd take the other half in to work for lunch the next day.
On both occasions, full though I was, I ended up eating the (big) second portion that same night ... oops.
So beware! Only make this when you have all the people needed to finish it, or lots of willpower.
Because this is DELICIOUS.