Risotto of ceps with spring onions, grated truffle and parmesan
This is an ideal main course for vegetarians that can also be served in smaller portions as a starter. Rather than make risotto the laborious, traditional way, I blanch my rice in advance, which halves the last-minute cooking time. The result is just as deliciously creamy, provided you use a good risotto rice.
Serves 4 as a main course
For the sautéed ceps:
250g fresh ceps, cleaned
2 tbs olive oil, plus extra to brush
sea salt and black pepper
a few knobs of butter
For the risotto:
200g risotto rice (such as carnaroli or vialone nano)
about 600ml vegetable stock
10g dried ceps (or porcini), rinsed
4 tbs olive oil
2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
100ml dry white wine
2 tbs mascarpone
2 tbs freshly grated parmesan
2 spring onions (green part only), finely chopped
fresh truffle slices, to garnish
a few deep-fried parsley leaves
truffle-infused olive oil, to drizzle
Halve two large ceps. Chop the rest and set all the mushroom aside until ready to cook.
For the risotto, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the rice and blanch the grains for 5 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a lightly oiled tray. Let cool, then cover with cling film and set aside until ready to cook and serve. (If preparing several hours ahead, refrigerate.)
Put the stock in another saucepan with the dried ceps. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain the stock and return to the pan. (You could use the ceps for another dish.)
When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and add the shallots. Stir over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Tip in the rice and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, then pour in the wine. Let bubble until almost totally reduced, then add a third of the infused stock. Stir occasionally until the rice has absorbed almost all the stock. Add another third of the stock and cook, stirring from time to time, again until the liquid is nearly all absorbed. Pour in half of the remaining stock, stir and simmer until absorbed. Now taste the rice to see if it is al dente. Add a splash more stock if the grains are still a little chalky. Remove the pan from the heat.
Heat a griddle pan until hot. Brush the ceps with a little olive oil and season well. Put the halved ceps on the griddle and cook for 4-5 minutes on both sides until nicely charred and cooked through. Heat the rest of the oil in a large frying pan and add the chopped ceps with a few knobs of butter. Season well and sauté over a high heat for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned.
Return the risotto to a gentle heat and add a little more stock. Stir in the sautéed ceps, then the mascarpone, parmesan, spring onions and finally the butter. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Divide the risotto among warm bowls and top each with a griddled cep half. Garnish with the truffle slices and parsley crisps. Drizzle over a little truffle-infused oil and serve immediately.