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Mushroom Risoniotto

Risoni (or Orzo) is a tiny rice-shaped pasta with a unique charm. There's something deeply satisfying about its texture, and it's quicker and easier to cook than Rice. Here it is combined with a Rich Mushroom Raqout for a warming Autumnal or Winter dish. Use a Dark and flavoursome variety of Mushroom, such as Chestnut or Open Cap or Field Mushrooms and include a few wild mushrooms if you have some to hand.

Tip: If you are using wine to cook with don't use cheap wine that you wouldn't normally drink. If it's nice to drink, then it's usually nice to cook with. Plus if you open a bottle it gives you the chance to sample the wine as you cook. It's one of the priveledges the chef has.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons of Rapeseed or Olive Oil

  • A knob of Butter

  • 500 grams of Chestnut Mushrooms cleaned, trimmed and thickly sliced

  • 200 grams of Risoni or Orzo Pasta

  • 2 Garlic Cloves

  • A few sprigs of Thyme, Leaves only.

  • 1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

  • 75 ml of Dry White Wine.

  • 50 ml of Double Cream or Crème Fraîche

  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

  • A handful of Flat-Leaf Parsley, Chopped to serve.

How to Make It

Step 1    

Put a large pan of well salted water on to boil, so that you're ready to cook the pasta white the sauce is coming together.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and half the butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. The butter stops the olive oil burning. Add half the Mushrooms and cook briskly, stirring often, until all the liquid released has evaporated. and the Mushrooms are starting to caramelise. Transfer this to a dish and repeat with the rest of the oil, Butter and Mushrooms. (Cooking in two batches like this avoids overcrowding the pan and ensures that the Mushrooms do not stew.)

When the second batch of Mushrooms are nearly cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente.

Return the first batch of Mushrooms to the frying pan. Add the Garlic, Thyme and Balsamic Vinegar and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the Dry White Wine and cook until there is almost no liquid remaining. Add the Double Cream or Crème Fraîche and reduce the heat a little stirring until the ingredients are just simmering. Season with Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste.

Drain the Pasta as soon as it is cooked and add to the Mushroom mixture and toss well. Serve the scattered chopped Flat Leaf Parsley over the top.