• Truffled mushroom risotto

    Truffled mushroom risotto

    Called ‘black gold’ for a good reason, fresh Australian truffles can fetch anywhere from $1000 to $3000 per kilo depending on the intensity of the aroma.

    Aroma is the best indication of truffle quality, not appearance. Big, small, very knobbly or smoother, appearance plays second fiddle to the senses of smell and taste. Truffles have a heady aroma that one not so much smells as senses in the pit of the stomach. It is a very sexy aroma; I’ve seen whole rooms of diners drift into swooning reveries.

    New Zealand and Australian growers have had varying degrees of success with truffières established in the early 1990s. Duncan Garvey’s ‘Perigord Truffles of Tasmania’ harvested the first Australian truffle in June 1999 but truffle production in Tasmania is only now approaching consistent levels. The majority of Australian production is from WA, where it has been something a success story, followed by TAS, with a little more from VIC/NSW.

    If you are lucky enough to source a fresh truffle, local or otherwise, this is the ultimate truffle dish, apart, perhaps, from Buon Ricordo’s (Sydney) truffled egg pasta, which dish Chef Armanda Percuoco is unable to take off the menu for fear of rioting in the streets.
    Mushrooms, rice and cheese are great mates of truffles so I’ve made an ultra mushroomy risotto to complement the shavings of black gold. In the absence of real truffles, invest in a small bottle of good truffle oil and sprinkle that lightly over the risotto just before serving. You’ll get the idea…

    A luxurious dish deserves The Pinot Hedonist’s Trio

    The Recipe

    Truffled mushroom risotto
    15g dried porcini, soaked in 1 cup warm water, strained, liquid and mushrooms reserved
    For the stock:
    1.5 litres chicken stock
    liquid from soaking the porcini
    6 flat brown mushrooms, chopped roughly
    Simmer the chicken stock, liquid from soaking the porcini and the mushrooms together for about 20 minutes. Strain and discard mushrooms. Keep the stock hot.

    For the risotto:
    knob butter & 1 tbsp olive oil
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    3 large flat brown mushrooms, stems removed, caps finely chopped
    1 ½ cups risotto rice
    half glass white wine
    hot stock (as above)
    In a large saucepan heat the butter and a olive oil. Saute the onion until it is translucent but not browned. Add the finely chopped mushrooms and sauté a little longer. Stir in the rice and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the wine and let bubble away, stirring occasionally. Now add ladles of stock, one at a time, allowing each to absorb before adding the next. The rice should bubble very gently. Stir it occasionally. Cook in this way until the rice is just tender.

    For the mushroom condiment:
    small knob butter
    8 button mushrooms, sliced
    reserved soaked porcini, finely chopped
    big dollop crème fraiche
    salt and pepper
    60g grated Grana or Parmesan
    Saute the button mushrooms and porcini in the butter for a minute or two. Add the crème fraiche and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for half a minute. When the rice is just cooked, stir in the mushroom condiment along with the grated cheese.

    To garnish and serve:
    extra shaved Grana or Parmesan
    shavings of truffle
    Place a large spoonful of risotto in a soup plate. Shake well to spread the risotto flat. Dot with the truffle shavings and garnish with shavings of Grana or Parmesan.