Comfort risotto with mushrooms, asparagus & truffle

This risotto is the ultimate comfort food, and at the same time you can impress your vegetarian friends with it. I love the creamy texture of risotto and gladly give the rice all the time that it needs to get the ‘bite’ just right. There is no way you can rush a risotto, please let it simmer on a low fire for as long as it needs, and do not forget to let it rest for 5-10 minutes with a cover before eating it. It is a shame to eat the risotto when it is too warm, you will not taste much of the rich flavors.
In this recipe I added an amazing secret ingredient, truffle tapenade (in Spanish: pate con trufo blanco/negro) that will bring an new dimension to any dish. It basically is a puree made from mushrooms and of course truffle. It is a much more affordable alternative for real truffles, and a much tastier option then cheap truffle oil. The flavor is quite strong, so be careful to not overdo it.

With risotto, I always find it hard to say how much stock to add to the rice as it really depends on the type of rice you are using. The 1L mentioned below might be too much, just add small amounts of stock each time to the rice until it is cooked and it still has a bite.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1L of chicken or vegetable fond (Spanish: caldo). You can also use bouillon from a cube but the flavor will be less intense and you have to be careful that it does not become too salty (in fond, there is no added salt)
  • 150g green asparagus, chopped in small pieces
  • 300g mixed mushrooms, large mushrooms chopped in halve or quarters
  • 2-3 teaspoons of truffle tapenade
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 25g butter
    Duration: around 60 minutes

Preparations:

  • Heat the fond or stock in a pan
  • In another deep pan, heat a generous splash of olive oil and gently fry the shallot, garlic and celery for 5 minutes until soft, stir every now and then.
  • Add the rice and fry it for 1 minute, keep stirring to prevent it from sticking.
  • Pour in the white wine and let the rice absorb the white wine for 2-3 minutes, stirring every now and then. After the alcohol has evaporated, add a large ladle of hot stock to the rice. Turn down the fire under the rice so that it boils very softly. Add the thyme and stir every now and then and allow the rice to gently absorb the stock. Keep adding ladles of hot stock until the rice is cooked and has a nice bite, this takes about 15-20 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the chopped asparagus and let them enjoy the hot stock too.
  • In the mean time, heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until they are cooked. Season with pepper and some salt
  • Taste the rice every now and then. Is it ready? Remove the risotto pan from the fire, and add the butter, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, some black pepper and 3 teaspoons of truffle tapenade to the risotto. Stir the risotto and cover it with a lid. This is a very important step, do not eat the risotto right away but let it rest at  least 5 minutes!
  • When the 5 minutes are over, serve the risotto and pretend you are in heaven for at least 20 minutes

What to drink with this?

With most light truffle dishes, I would choose a red wine from North Italy, Piedmont region. The wines made from the Nebbiolo grape are amazing with truffle, but a ripe French Pinot Noir will also work.

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