Stephen La Rosa spent years cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants across New York, San Francisco and London. He then returned to Malta to lead a team of chefs to launch a local culinary academy. He’s now dedicating his time to motivate aspiring cooks to love their time in the kitchen by teaching them chef-level techniques that will transform their cooking. To level up your cooking, check out www.stephenlarosa.co for more recipes, techniques and resources.
This rich and velvety risotto is all the comfort food you could wish for this winter, Chef Stephen La Rosa shows us how it is done!
Extract taken from November's 2022 Il-Bizzilla Magazine | Read more here
Roast Mushroom & Porcini Risotto
275g button/chestnut mushrooms
75g oyster mushrooms
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
4 thyme sprigs
25g dried porcini
200g Arborio rice
100ml white wine, dry
80g unsalted butter
20g rocket leaves or watercress, optional
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Begin by chopping the dried porcini into small pieces using a pair of scissors. Place into a measuring cylinder. Pour 1.25 litres of boiling water over them and allow them to steep while you prepare your ingredients. Finely chop 200g of button mushrooms, the whole onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Reserve separately. With the remainder of your button mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces or leave whole if they’re nice and small. Tear the oyster mushrooms into bite-sized lengths by hand. Place a medium-sized pot over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped onion to the pot and season with salt. Stir to cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onion have softened but not browned. Add your minced mushrooms and turn the heat up to high. Season the mushrooms with salt and stir constantly as they cook, they will give off a lot of moisture and reduce in volume considerably. Once the mushrooms have lost most of their moisture and have reduced considerably, lower the heat to medium and add the minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring.
Add your rice to the pot and turn the heat to low. Cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes to toast the rice and coat it in the mushroom mixture. Increase the heat to medium and add 100ml of dry white wine, allow it to reduce while stirring. Once almost completely reduced, add 1/3rd of your porcini stock to the pot and stir gently to separate the rice. Add all of the soaked porcini to the pot also. Cook while stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Add a further 1/3rd of the porcini stock and continue cooking while stirring occasionally.
For the sauteed mushrooms
While that is cooking, preheat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Place the remaining button mushrooms into the pan, drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Allow to cook without moving for 2 minutes. Lightly crush the unpeeled cloves of garlic. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan along with 2 sprigs of thyme and an unpeeled clove of garlic. Coat the mushrooms in the foamy butter and cook until well browned. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and a few drops of sherry vinegar. Once cooked, add the mushrooms to your risotto and reserve a few pieces for garnish. Wipe your pan and repeat the sauteing process with the oyster mushrooms.
Finishing the Risotto
Add half of your leftover stock to the risotto. Continue cooking while stirring until almost all of the liquid has reduced. Taste your risotto for seasoning and doneness. If the rice still has a crunch, add more liquid and continue cooking with more stock. If the risotto is very under-seasoned, add a pinch of salt but don’t go overboard. We’ll be adding salty Parmesan later.Continue to cook the rice while stirring constantly until it is tender, but still has some texture to it and the liquid surrounding the rice is thick and starchy. If the rice is cooked but very dry, add a few teaspoons of stock to loosen it up. Turn the heat off and allow your risotto to sit for 1 minute. Add the rest of your butter and grated parmesan and stir off the heat until they have both emulsified into the risotto. Serve immediately on warm plates and top with the reserved mushrooms. Garnish with more Parmesan, black pepper, sauteed mushrooms and rocket leaves.