The International Wine and Food Society, Melbourne Branch, recently hosted a Masterclass in risotto cooking, presented by Beverly Sutherland Smith. The first dish was this ‘basic risotto’ as taught at the Swiss Hotel School in Lausanne in Switzerland’. The method of cookery is quite liberating as it requires very little stirring and, consequently, is very easy to make. The star ingredient is the Italian carnaroli rice, second is the porcini mushrooms and third is our beautiful home-made chicken stock.
60ml olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1½ cups carnaroli rice, I used Riso Ceriotti from the South Melbourne market deli
250ml, 1 cup, white wine
750ml, 3 cups, chicken or vegetable Cooking on the Bay stock
4 -5 pieces porcini dried mushrooms
250g fresh mushrooms, finely sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped, fresh chives and parsley
125ml, ½ cup, additional stock
½ cup grated Parmigiano Regianno, plus extra for the table.
Put the porcini into a small bowl and pour boiling water over, just enough to cover, set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
Take a heavy bottomed cast-iron, ovenproof, casserole pan and add the chopped onion with olive oil and cook, stirring from time to time, without colouring, for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook gently, without colouring, for another few minutes. Add the rice and the butter; stir to coat the rice with the butter; cook until the rice is opaque. Add the white wine and 250ml, one cup, of the stock. Cook until it has almost evaporated.
Add the remaining stock, the porcini soaking liquid and stir. Scatter the fresh mushrooms and porcini over the rice with the herbs on top; bring back to the boil. Cover with a cartouche, that is a ‘lid’ of baking paper, put a lid on and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and leave to rest for 10 minutes without removing the lid.
The rice is usually perfect; however, do check for doneness. If not quite cooked, add a little more stock and return to the oven for 5 minutes or so. Add the remaining 45 grams of butter, the stock and Parmigiano Regianno and stir very well to have a creamy, moist risotto. Garnish with extra Parmigiano Regianno.
In truffle season, a shaved fresh truffle would be heavenly.
École hôtelière de Lausanne* is a hospitality management school in Switzerland, regarded, by many, as the best hospitality school in the world.