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Risotto is my ultimate comfort food. I love it as a mid-week meal as it is simple to prepare and it is a great standby as it can be made from almost anything. I also love the almost meditative quality of stirring the risotto, I find it a great way to unwind from the day.

I am no risotto making expert, but I have a couple of tips I have picked up along the way. The key is not to overcook the rice, it should be al-dente (with a little bit of bite). I watched a cooking program years ago where the Italian chef that was making risotto offered the following analogy – you want the pieces of rice to be like brothers, close, but not too close. Fair enough.

My other tip is to use warm stock and to take the risotto off the heat when it is almost ready and stir in a knob of butter and some parmesan. Yum!

I whipped up this risotto the other week with some field mushrooms, preserved lemon that Saskia made and some sage from my garden. For some reason, while most plants generally die in our garden, the sage is going bananas:

Any recipe suggestions that use sage would be greatly appreciated!

Mushroom, sage and preserved lemon risotto (serves 4)

5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (possibly more or less- use as much as required until it tastes cooked)
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
a cup (or so) of field mushrooms
2 cups (440g) arborio rice
about a cup of white wine
2 tbs of preserved lemon, cut into pieces
Salt & freshly ground pepper
A good handful of fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup (40g) finely grated parmesan
1 tbs of butter
Shaved parmesan, to serve

Method

  • Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan over a medium heat (or just use powdered stock and boiling water).
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and mushroom. Cook for about 4 minutes or just until soft and delicious looking. Add the preserved lemon.
  • Add the rice and stir until well coated in the oil.
  • Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.
  • Add 1 cup of the hot stock and cook, stirring often, until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding the hot stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring until the stock is absorbed and the rice is just tender. Don’t overcook the rice as it will be gluggy and starchy.
  • About half way through the cooking I added about half of the sage, to make sure the flavour was incorporated.
  • When all stock is absorbed take it off the heat, stir the grated parmesan and butter through the risotto and then season to taste (be careful with adding salt in this recipe as preserved lemon can be quite salty – I didn’t add any extra salt at all).
  • Stir the remaining sage into the risotto. Divide among serving dishes.  Season with freshly ground pepper, top with a sage leaf and shaved parmesan. Serve immediately.

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One Response to “Simple and soothing: mushroom risotto with preserved lemon and sage”

  1. Your sage plant looks really happy right now. I would suggest something with butternut squash, or roasting poultry.

    Since you’re using homegrown sage, show off your dish in our “Grow Your Own” roundup this month. To participate, find the details here:

    http://chezannies.blogspot.com/2010/03/announcing-grow-your-own-40.html

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