A lustrous risotto with a tiny bit of bitter chocolate to balance the richness of the rice
Stirring just a little of the darkest of dark chocolate into this risotto right at the end achieves a few delicious things: its bitterness balances with the umami of the parmesan and the richness of the rice; and it helps create a lustrous texture. This is a luxurious risotto, best served with some crisp bitter leaves before or after.
25g dried mushrooms (porcini)
1½ litres chicken or vegetable stock
2 large banana shallots, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
350g carnaroli rice
100ml dry vermouth (or white wine)
300g mixed wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
25g 100% dark chocolate, in drops broken-up or roughly chopped from a bar
100g parmesan, freshly grated
A small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Put the dried mushrooms into a small bowl, with enough hot water to just about cover them. Set aside for 15 mins. Warm the stock in a pan and keep it warm throughout the cooking.
Melt two-thirds of the butter in a large saucepan or sauté pan. Add the shallot and cook gently for approx 5 mins until turning translucent and softening. Add the garlic, cook for another minute. Lift the dried mushrooms out of their water, roughly chop and add to the pan. Keep the water they soaked in.
Add the rice, tossing round to coat every grain in the pan’s juices. Add the vermouth, turn the heat up and let it bubble away. Turn the heat down to medium, stir in the mushroom soaking water and once it is fully absorbed begin to add the stock, ladleful by ladleful, stirring pretty much all the time. Keep doing this for about 10 mins, then stir in the chopped wild mushrooms, season well, and keep going with the stock and stirring for another 5 mins or so.
Test if the rice is ready—you want it to still have a little bite. When it is, add another half-ladle of stock, stir in the rest of the butter, the chocolate and most of the parmesan. Give a squeeze of lemon, check if it needs more salt, and serve with a good grinding of pepper and the parsley scattered over. The rest of the parmesan to be added to each person’s taste.
Recipe: Angela Clutton