Friday, January 28, 2011

Connie Green & Sarah Scott's "Poor Man's Truffle" Risotto

My second attempt at a recipe from The Wild Table was just as satisfying as the first. The book describes this recipe as a return to how risotto was most endearingly made: over a fire with an old skillet, adding nothing more than what you've got. Basically, a risotto that's simple and tastes of the Earth.

Like the first time, I had to make do with what I had. Also, with diabetes, a starchy risotto isn't something I can have on a regular basis. I used some dried chanterelles again and I used farro and barley instead of arborio or carnaroli. Luckily, farro and barley have similar cooking times (about 30 to 45 minutes), and they both take on that slightly chewy texture, so they complemented each other pretty well. I would imagine spelt would be a good invite as well, but spelt might require maybe 15 minutes of pre-cooking before joining the party.

The end product was surprisingly creamy and full of flavor. It was a bit on the salty side, but that's because I used a little bit too much stock and not enough water to balance it out towards the end. The dash of truffle oil at the end marries the cheese and cream with the earthy mushrooms and grains. The texture of the grains requires more chewing, which allows you to fully enjoy the mushrooms' flavors over a longer period of time. I would highly recommend this recipe for its simplicity and showcase of mushrooms. The best part is that you could probably create a ton of variations on this dish by substituting any wild mushrooms that are in season with just as successful results.

A nifty tip to get that extra umph of mushroom flavor in whatever you cook with dried mushrooms: save the water you use to rehydrate the mushrooms and incorporate it into your cooking somehow. With the lamb roast, I used some of the water to get the tapenade going in the blender and I put the rest of the water in the roasting pan to keep the lamb moist and to baste the lamb a couple times. With the risotto, the water is great to throw in towards the last couple rounds of dumping stock in with the rice or grains.

One last note. Risotto with grains like farro and pearl barley microwave really well if you throw in a little extra stock or water before reheating. The grains respond really well to reheating and don't stray very far at all from their original textures and flavors. If you're planning to have leftovers or if you're cooking your lunch for the work week, this is a great option, and everyone at work will, guaranteed, give you looks of envy.


  1. I've only had farro risotto a few times, twice at Lazy Ox, and I think I love it. This looks amazing.

  2. Farro risotto is definitely one my favorites. I really want to go to Lazy Ox again some time soon. Also, we gotta hit up Aburiya Toranoko and order everything next time we're both around.

  3. Wow, that looks great! I want this cookbook of yours...but I've never tried making risotto. Easy or challenging, somewhere in between?

    And is Aburiya Toranoko the place KevinEats just blogged about? Because if so, TAKE ME WITH YOU.

    I miss LA.


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