Friday, November 13, 2009

Golden Chanterelle Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes - I don't make it nearly often enough and when I do, I always make plenty to eat for several days after. Since picking a wonderful bounty of chanterelles last weekend with my friend Scott -- instead of dry sauteeing and freezing them as I often do -- I've been making up delicious chanterelle dishes every night so that my friend can develop a taste for them and will want to go hunting more with me all winter.

Golden Chanterelle Risotto
  • 3 c Arborio rice
  • 1 lb Golden Chanterelles (chop the stems into discs, thinly slice the tops)
  • 1 Delicata squash, roasted & chopped into 1/2" chunks
  • 1-2 shallots chopped (the small red onion variety, not spring or Welsh onion variety)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 yellow carrots, diced
  • 1 bunch of radish greens, chiffonaded (or sub a cup or so of other savory greens arugula, white mustard or kale)
  • 1/2 c dry cooking sherry
  • 1 T dried thyme
  • 3-4 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 c. of the tiniest cherry tomatoes you can glean from your garden
  • salt, to taste
  • black/white pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, as needed
  • saffron (optional)
  • 8 c veggie stock
  1. STOCK: Pour veggie stock into a stockpot at the back of the stove and start to warm up on low.  You want to keep this at a simmer while you're actually adding it to the risotto.  I threw in the stems from dried thyme for extra flavor - stems from other herbs might work nicely, too.
  2. SQUASH: Start to roast your delicata before you start the risotto - they cook up pretty quickly and the squash does not need to go into the risotto in the first part of cooking (unless you want it to cook down and blend in more).
  3. SOFFRITO: Sautee carrots, garlic & shallots in several Tb of olive oil on med-high until softened - but don't burn!  Add chanterelles & cook until the chanterelles start to release all their liquid and then add the dry cooking sherry, radish greens, parsley and dried herbs.  Once the greens are a bit soft, scoop all the veggies out with a slotted spoon (I like to use a mesh disc with bamboo handle for stir fries that I picked up in an awesome Asian  housewares store on Clement St).
  4. TOSTATURA: Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to the reserved juices in the pan and stir in the risotto.  Cook on medium til the rice is transluscent - you'll hear a clicky-clicky sound that is different from when it is first put into the pan.
  5. COTTURA: Add your first ladle of broth and stir in the reserved veggies & delicata squash.  Stir the risotto gently to keep it from sticking, and once it has absorbed the broth a bit, add more.  The trick is to always keep the rice just slightly covered with broth and don't cook it on too high a heat or it will stick.  This is the stage when the rice releases the starch and starts to look creamy. 
  6. ALL'ONDA:  don't forget to taste your rice! You want it to be "al dente" - not totally mushy but cooked with a little "bite" in it.   Just before it gets to the "al dente" stage is when you want to toss in those tiny cherry tomatoes -- the bigger they are, the earlier they should go in - but you don't want them to cook - just to warm up so that they burst with warm tomato goodness when you take a bite of risotto.
  7. The last stage is MANTECATO - when butter & cheese are added, but that is up to the cook - not necessary in my vegan kitchen when the risotto is so delicious without!  I just add salt, pepper and in this case - some saffron.  Stir in the additional spices and serve.
  8. LEFTOVERS - you want leftovers, trust me.  Remember to "heat gently" - you don't want to overcook the rice.  Short spurts in the microwave work, or leave it out to warm to room temperature and then heat in a pan adding a little hot water/broth in small amounts just like you did to cook it.  Warming it in the oven (with cheese on top if you insist) also works pretty well.

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