Sunday, 18 January 2015

Risotto con Funghi Misti (A guest post by Linda Poulnott)

I was delighted to host the first of my friend Linda Poulnott’s posts about Neapolitan cooking, based on her experience of living in the Bay of Naples for over 20 years.

Linda’s first post, about how you can cook like a real Neapolitan Mamma [Come facette mammeta (like mother makes)] is full of useful tips which can be easily followed to great effect can be found here:

But right now I am very pleased to be hosting the second of Linda’s guest posts. This is her take on an authentic southern Italian risotto. I love the directness of this recipe. I love risotto, and I enjoy making it at home, but perhaps have been overcomplicating this classic dish. Linda’s version is deceptively simple, but lives up to one of her guiding principles for “real” Neapolitan food; to let the ingredients shine and speak for themselves.

So I will now leave you to enjoy Linda’s brilliant recipe, which I hope you will make at home and share with your family and friends.

Linda Poulnott; friend, cook, guitarist, music fan and all round lovely person

RISOTTO CON FUNGHI MISTI (Risotto with mixed mushrooms.)

Ingredients for 4 people

350g of arborio risotto rice

150g of fresh mixed mushrooms (you can use a pre-packed selection)

1 medium onion

1 small glass of white wine (or a large one and you can drink half!)

50g of cooked ham (optional) (look out for Italian proscuitto crudo, but any cooked ham will do)

500mi vegetable or ham stock

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoons of olive oil

A handful of finely grated parmesan

A teaspoon of finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley



You will need:

A frying pan

A saucepan

A ladle


1. Clean and chop the mushrooms, onion and garlic.

2. Add a tablespoon of oil to a large frying pan and fry the mushrooms, garlic, ham and onion gently until cooked (about 10 minutes), add a little salt, then set aside on a warm plate. If you prefer to add the garlic towards the end of the cooking time to prevent burning, this is a good idea.

3. Prepare the stock in a saucepan and IMPORTANT (!) keep it simmering! Have a ladle ready to add the stock to the frying pan when needed.

4. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan which should be on a medium heat. Add the rice and stir until it starts to turn opaque. At that point pour in the glass of white wine and stir.

5. When most of the liquid has been absorbed add the first ladleful of stock. Once again stir until the liquid has almost been absorbed then add another ladleful. The secret of a good risotto is to keep it simmering and stir often. Do not be tempted to add lots of liquid at once or turn up the heat. This results in rice that's soggy outside and hard in the middle. Yuk!

6. After about 12 minutes try some rice to check if it's almost ready. Add salt if needed. 

7. Near the end of the cooking time add the mushroom mixture, parsley and, just as you are ready to serve, add the grated parmesan. The risotto should have a very creamy texture. 
You can garnish with the remaining parsley.


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