If I'm going to any kind of oriental food store, I'll always make sure to drop this gorgeous dried shiitake mushrooms into my basket. Although I never necessarily have any reason to buy them, I just feel it'll come handy one day.
I love using them when I fancy something of vegetarian but still a little meaty, something with a bit of depth and a bite to it. Its distinctive flavour and perfume adds the third dimension to the dish, making every mouthful ever so oozy and full of texture.
Shiitake mushroom Risotto
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped
160g risotto rice
6-7 dried shiitake mushrooms
125ml white wine
750ml-850ml chicken/vegetable stock
some Parmesan cheese
few sage leaves, chopped
handful parsley, chopped
salt and black pepper
First of all, pour boiling water into dried shiitake mushrooms and soak them for 30mins. Once ready drain and reserve the water to use it as part of your stock. Slice re hydrated mushrooms into fine strips.
Put a saucepan on a low heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Saute onion, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt until soften. This will take 5-10mins. Make sure to stir from time to time. (I love doing this for good 10mins as softened onions give lovely sweetness to the dish.)
Once softened, turn the heat to medium and add half of butter, rice and chopped sage. Stir well for couple of minutes until rice becomes little translucent on the edges.
Now add sliced mushrooms and wine and let it bubble away. (And of course, add a few little too much drop of booze, confusion may cause oozy to become boozy. Something that I always succeed and enjoy due to the pretend accidental amount of wine poured into both myself and the supper!)
When all the liquid is gone, add your stock just enough to cover the rice and stir well. Once absorbed add little more stock. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked but still aldente. This will take about 20mins.
Make sure the risotto falls off the spoon. (I prefer it more wet consistency than dry.)
Add chopped parsley, the other half of butter, salt and pepper to season, grated Parmesan cheese and let it relax for a minute or two with the lid on. This will let the flavours to mingle and rice to do its own thing.
When ready, add zest and a good squeeze of lemon and serve it with some more shaving or grating of Parmesan cheese. (I like to finish it off with good handful of rocket leaves dressed in a little olive oil or some chargrilled king oyster mushrooms dressed in olive oil, lemon and thyme.)