Although Risotto is not a Spanish dish, it is very common to find it served in restaurants and bars in many parts of Spain. Like the Italians, the Spanish enjoy their rice dishes, the most famous of which is paella. Paella and risotto have some similarities but equally many differences in the way they are prepared. Firstly the type of rice that is used. Bomba rice, a short grain rice that absorbs liquid very well is used for paella whereas arborio or carnaroli rice is used for risottos. Wine is used in the preparation of risotto, but not in paella. And additionally unlike with a risotto, a paella is not stirred. Stirring a risotto helps release the starch in the rice which gives a risotto its creamy texture, whereas with a paella you’re aiming for a tender, not a creamy rice. On top of that, the socarrat, which is the caramelised brown crust that forms on the bottom of a well-cooked paella is a highly prized delicacy.
In this dish, we’ve used Crema Torta cheese to add some extra creaminess and flavour. This cheesy cream spread is the cream or inside of a 100% natural sheep’s cheese from Extremadura region known as Torta del Casar (PDO). During preparation, the milk for the cheese is curdled using a wild thistle known as an artichoke thistle as it is a member of the same species as the globe artichoke. It is this unique preparation that lends a subtle bitterness to an otherwise rich and slightly salty tasting cheese. If you kind find Crema Torta, you can of course substitute with another cheese or some cream.Print
Creamy Mushroom Risotto
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 350g button mushrooms
- 300g rice (arborio or carnaroli)
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 30ml extra virgin olive oil
- 250ml white wine
- 3 tbsp crema torta
- salt to taste
- thyme and pine nuts to garnish
- Heat your olive oil in a deep frying pan over a medium flame. Dice the onion and garlic and then add them to the pan and cook until the onion softens and becomes transparent. Slice the mushrooms and add those to the pan and continue to cook until they have released all their water.
- Add the rice and stir well, ensuring everything is mixed well together. The rice will begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Once it does, add the wine and keep stirring until the liquid has cooked into the rice and the alcohol has evaporated.
- Now turn down the heat and start to add the vegetable stock, a ladle at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon as you do. Once the rice has absorbed each ladle, add the next, making sure the rice never dries out.
- Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the rice. This should take about 15 minutes. At this point, taste the rice. You want the rice to be soft but slightly al dente, with a bite. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked you can always add some boiling water.
- When your rice is cooked (soft on the outside but hard on the inside) take the pan off the heat and check the seasoning, adding salt as required.
- Add the cream cheese and stir well. Cover and leave to stand for a few minutes. Leaving a risotto to stand is considered to be one of the most important parts of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes creamy.
- Give the risotto a final stir and then spoon it into bowls and scatter with some thyme leaves and pine nuts to garnish.