Go Mad for Mushrooms this Autumn

Most species of mushrooms are at their peak in October and November. We’re lucky enough to have had bumper crops of our favourite fungi in the last few years, and this autumn looks set to be no different. Make the most of it with this delicious risotto which has classic Italian flavours. Italians use hazelnuts in desserts, sauces and savoury recipes. In this dish, they add a little sweetness and crunch which beautifully complements the flavour of the mushroom and the rice’s creamy texture.

Mushroom and Hazelnut Risotto (serves 4)

1 medium onion, chopped
200g Arborio rice
175ml dry white wine
100g grated parmesan cheese
60g hazelnuts, halved
1 teaspoon olive oil
750ml vegetable (or chicken) stock
100g chopped chanterelle mushrooms*
bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method

Risotto requires patience rather than skill. In a large pan, start by frying the chopped onion in the olive oil over a medium heat until translucent (around 5 minutes).

Add the rice and stir for another 1-2 minutes until it is evenly coated in oil and onion. Pour in the wine and stir gently until all the liquid is absorbed.

Add the stock a ladleful at a time, gently stirring until it is absorbed until adding more. It should take 20-25 minutes.

In between stirring, cook hazelnuts for 10 minutes on a baking paper lined tray at 175°C (gas mark 4).

Gently sauté mushrooms in a splash of olive oil until soft. Stir the parmesan, hazelnuts and cooked mushrooms into the rice and serve garnished with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and some shaved parmesan.

This risotto can be cooled and frozen. To avoid the texture changing too much, defrost it slowly (overnight in the fridge) then reheat over a low heat.

* You can substitute the chanterelles for chestnut mushrooms. You can also add a sprinkle of dried mushrooms that have been reconstituted in hot stock for some extra flavour.