Friday, December 9, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - Week 27

Anne Willan

At number 27 of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food, Anne Willan, originally from England, is "recognized on both sides of the Atlantic as a leading authority on the cooking of France and it's culinary history."  She was an associate editor of Gourmet, is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, and most notably known as the founder of La Varenne (opened in 1975).  She taught cooking in London and Paris before moving to the United States, where she currently resides with her husband.

While looking through Anne Willan's many creations I came across her Wild Mushroom Risotto recipe.  I, myself, had only made risotto twice before with "ok" results.  However, there is a wonderful restaurant in Miami, Caffe di Notte, which serves the most amazing Champagne Risotto with Short Ribs that I had always hoped to be able to make something even close to what I have had there.  I hit the jackpot!! It's creamy and tasty with a smooth earthiness from the mushrooms...absolutely DIVINE!!  A definite keeper!!

Wild Mushroom Risotto Courtesy of Anne Willan/La Varenne

Fragrant boletus (porcini) mushrooms are classic in risotto, and other intensely flavored types such as chanterelles do well too.  Dried mushrooms are an alternative (you'll need about 2 ounces/60g for this recipe), or you can supplement expensive fresh wild mushrooms with some cultivated ones.  for example, portabellas, peeled and cut in wedges, make a nice contrast of color with the white rice.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 quart/1 liter/1¾ pints chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons/45 g/1½ oz butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup/200 g/7 oz risotto rice, preferably Carnaroli or Arborio
  • ½ cup/125 ml/4 fl oz dry white wine
  • ¼ cup/30 g/1 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
For the mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon/15 g/½ oz butter
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ pound/225 g wild mushrooms, trimmed and cut in ¼-inch/6-mmslices
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the mushrooms: Heat oil and butter in a skillet and add the whole clove of garlic. Add the mushrooms with salt and pepper and sauté them, stirring often, until they are tender and all liquid has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes depending on the type of mushroom. Take from the heat and discard the garlic clove. Taste, adjust seasoning and set the mushrooms aside.
  2. Heat the broth in a saucepan and keep it warm at the side of the stove. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt half the butter. Stir in the onion and sauté it until transparent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and sauté it, stirring constantly, until it absorbs the butter and looks translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add about 1 cup/250 ml/8 fl oz of the broth and simmer, stirring, until the rice starts to dry, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring all the time and adding more broth in batches to keep the rice moist. At the end of cooking, the rice should be tender, still slightly al dente (chewy) and creamy from the starch that has begun to leach from the grains. This will take 25 to 30 minutes and don’t hesitate to use plenty of broth.
  3. Meanwhile, reheat the mushrooms in the skillet. When the risotto is ready, stir them into the rice. Take it from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, the Parmesan, and the parsley. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve the risotto in shallow bowls or on deep plates.
GETTING AHEAD: Risotto is best eaten at once, hence the wait in a good Italian restaurant while your risotto is prepared from scratch. It can be kept warm for up to 15 minutes with the pan in a water bath, but will stiffen so you will need to stir in a little more broth just before serving.


Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said... Best Blogger Tips

Porcini mushrooms give such an incredible flavor to rice dishes and sauces. This sounds incredibly delicious.

Kathy said... Best Blogger Tips

You made a wonderful choice for this week. I love risotto and this one looks fabulous!

Jeanette said... Best Blogger Tips

This risotto looks like it came out nice and creamy. I haven't made risotto in a really long time, but this is reminding me of how good it is.

Claudia said... Best Blogger Tips

This is a true winter risotto - that earthy taste from the porcini that gives a nod to Mother Nature and warms and comforts. Saving this.

Joanne said... Best Blogger Tips

Mmm I LOVE risotto! WHat a delicious dish especially with the mushrooms. They add such an earthy delicious flavor.

Mary Bergfeld said... Best Blogger Tips

What a lovely recipe. It was a perfect choice to represent the work of Anne Willan. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Miranda | Mangoes and Chutney said... Best Blogger Tips

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes, especially when mushrooms are added! Thank you for sharing this.

Alisa said... Best Blogger Tips

Mushroom risotto is one of my favorites. I like reading your women game changers.