Parmesan risotto with porcini

Serves 4

Cooking the rice and porcini separately is the secret to my mushroom risotto. It keeps the flavours fresh and vibrant and gives variation while you eat – one moment you're biting into meaty sautéed porcini, the next creamy Parmesan risotto. Not even Stella could resist!

For the risotto

1½ litre/2½ pints quality chicken stock
25g/1oz butter, plus a large knob
1 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
400g/13oz risotto rice
150ml/1/4 pint vermouth
100g/3½oz Parmesan, finely grated plus extra to serve

For the porcini

Knob butter
1 tbsp olive oil
400g/13oz small porcini, cleaned with a soft brush and thickly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tbsp thyme leaves
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
½ lemon
Good-quality olive oil, to serve

To make the risotto, bring the stock to the simmer in a pan. Heat a large, high-sided frying pan on a medium heat. Add the butter and oil and once the butter starts to foam, add the shallots and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Tip in the risotto rice and stir well to coat. When you hear the rice crackle, add the vermouth and stir until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

At this point, start adding the stock one ladleful at a time, stirring continuously and not adding the next ladle until the previous one has been absorbed. Continue until the rice is al dente. You might not need all of the stock to get to this point, but if you prefer your risotto more cooked, keep going with the stock. Vigorously stir in the additional knob of butter and the Parmesan, then cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Put the butter and oil for the mushrooms in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, toss in the porcini, garlic and thyme. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the porcini are tender and taking on some colour. Stir through the parsley.

Ladle the risotto into serving bowls and spoon the porcini over. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and a glug of good olive oil.

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