You know when you’ve been eyeing up a recipe for sooooo long that you just have to give in and cook in? That’s what this is. It’s hardly the healthiest of meals, what with the wine and cheese, but sometimes you need to eat something hearty like this – we can’t all live off kale forever (yuk!).
My excuse for such a lavish dish was my neighbours birthday and I was volunteered to cook – so this show stopper of a meal had to make it’s debut appearance!
The recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks, Jo Pratt’s In The Mood For Entertaining. I’ve altered the quantities to suit 4 people instead of 6 as the book intends, and changed the amount of cheese – I’ve decreased the blue cheese, surprisingly! I think any more than 60g would be overpowering and too rich; this amount was, as Goldilocks would say, “just right”.
Ingredients for 4 very hungry people:
For the mushrooms:
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 Tsp. dried oregano
- a handful of basil leaves, chopped finely (dried would be fine)
- 1 Tbsp. tomato purée
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and black pepper
- 6 large flat mushrooms (Portobello would work)
- 150 ml red wine
Put the mushrooms into a heatproof dish. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, oregano, basil, tomato purée, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a paste. Rub this paste into the mushrooms, smearing it lightly into the gills. Pour over 100ml of the red wine and leave to cover for at least 1 hour. When the red wine has been absorbed, add the remaining 50ml (you can always add more!).
For the risotto:
- 50g butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 300g risotto rice
- 150ml white wine
- 600ml vegetable stock
- sea salt and black pepper
- 60g blue cheese (I used Danish Blue, but Stilton or Gorgonzola would be fine)
- 100g grated cheddar
- 170g spinach leaves
- 50g pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Melt the butter in a large ovenproof dish (such as a casserole dish) and gently sauté the onion until it’s transparent. Add the rice and stir to coat it in the butter before adding the white wine. Cook until half of the wine has been absorbed.
Put the mushrooms in the oven to cook for about 25 minutes.
Add the hot stock to the rice with a twist of black pepper (omit the salt as the blue cheese will give some saltiness when added). Stir briefly and cover with a tight fitting lid. Place in the oven and bake for 18 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven, stir in the cheese and spinach, until melted or wilted.
Remove the mushrooms from the oven, and cut each one in half.
Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan.
Serve up! Plate the risotto on warm plates and scatter over the pine nuts. Put 3 halves of a mushroom on each plate, and spoon any remaining red wine juices over them.
I can’t stress how rich and delicious this is – you HAVE to have it!