Bursting with hearty and comforting flavors, this creamy risotto with shiitake mushrooms and chestnut has everything to feed your soul.
The countdown to Christmas has now started. Just a few more days to go, and I guess you are probably very busy right now, with a lot to think about: trying to find last-minute gifts, going to the grocery store with an endless food and wine/beer list, starting the food preparation for the holidays, or maybe adding your last touch to a festive home decoration before your guests arrive. I hope my humble blog helped you to find some inspiration for your menu, maybe among my Vegan Christmas Menu (my very first vegan festive menu), or in a more traditional way among my ⋆ Holiday Menu ⋆.
To me, Christmas has always been something big and synonym to huge family gatherings. When I was younger, we used to be around 20-25 guests each year, and it was only one side of my family. We would have lunch from 1pm to 5-6pm (not kidding, that’s the French way!), and then we would go visit the other side of the family for tea time. Of course festive food was the counter stone of the holidays and we had to prepare huge quantities.
But Christmas can also be more intimate, a holiday you celebrate with your very close relatives. It will be the third year in a row for me, and as much as I miss the big family gatherings, I also like that these small Christmas that allow you to create more sophisticated dishes, or dishes that need to be prepared and served at the very last minute. In this idea, I created for you guys a fantastic festive dish that will be perfect for Christmas: a shiitake and chestnut risotto!
Believe it or not, but after so many years blogging, I had never shared a risotto recipe on the blog, despite my endless love for everything with arborio rice, risotto or rice pudding (I actually even like rice over pasta!). So now, you might wonder even more: why did she wait so many years before sharing a risotto recipe? Well, simply because in my family, David is the risotto master. He has been in charge of making the risotto for years now and he is excellent at it. And you know how it is: when you have an expert in front of you, you do not want to compete with him; it’s too scary! And let’s face it: it’s also quite comfortable to have someone around you who prepares your favorite dish once in a while.
So I simply became lazy and never made a risotto on my own in years… until today! I’m so proud of myself and also very happy with the result. I’m not Italian and I would never pretend to have the best risotto in the entire world, but I must say I have been pretty serious about it. I browsed many, many different risotto recipe on Italian food blogs, watched many tutorial videos to understand how to get the perfect texture, until I felt very confident – almost a master – in the role of making risotto!
Because risotto is very versatile, it’s easy to make it seasonal. In this version, I wanted it both festive and made of hearty flavors that reminds us of fall and winter. Shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts are the two stars of the dish today, and they do a beautiful job combined with fresh rosemary and white wine. I prepared the mushrooms separately first, before adding them to the risotto once it was almost cooked already. The reasons are simple: first of all you do not want to disturb the rice cooking process, and then you want to make sure your shiitake mushrooms keep their full flavor. Good to know: you can also make the recipe with other mushrooms with a strong flavors: oyster mushroom, porcini, chanterelle, black trumpet… Enjoy your risotto with a glass of white wine, such as a Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir.
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups (150g) shiitake mushrooms*, sliced
- 3 Tablespoons white wine
- Salt to taste
- 4 cups (1L) vegetable stock
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1¼ cup (320g) uncooked arborio rice
- ¼ cup (50 ml) white wine
- 20 chestnuts, peeled, cooked, and crumbled
- ½ Tablespoon rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 4 Tablespoons (60g) Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
- Salt to taste
- For the shiitake mushrooms: in a non stick frying pan, throw garlic and let fry in olive oil on low heat, about one minute. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine and burn the alcohol off by increasing the heat for a few seconds. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
- For the risotto: put the vegatable stock in a pot and heat it on the fire. The stock has to be hot all the time while you are cooking risotto, so that the rice temperature does not drop when you add the stock to it.
- In a non stick pot, melt onions in olive oil on low heat, until translucent.
- Add the rice**, mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes, until it becomes translucent.
- Pour in white wine and let the alcohol burn off by cooking on a high heat.
- Add enough hot stock to cover the rice and turn the heat to medium-low. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, and adding hot stock little by little, until the rice is cooked, about 18-20 minutes.
- A few minutes before the rice is ready, add the shiitake mushrooms and crumbled chestnuts to it. Stir well and keep cooking a few more minutes.
- When rice is ready, remove from heat and add rosemary, butter, and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir well, until rice becomes creamy***. Season to your liking and serve immediately.
** Do not wash the rice before cooking it. You want to keep the starch in it, as that is what makes risotto naturally creamy.
*** Make sure the risotto is moist and not sticky. If too sticky, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of hot stock, and stir well.