Mushroom and Fig Risotto
My husband recently returned from a business trip to Grottaglie, Italy. Grottaglie is in Puglia, which is the heel of the boot, this is the easiest way to locate the region in people’s minds and I have been telling a lot of people where Puglia is lately. You see, my husband went to Grottaglie to meet his new coworkers because we will be moving there in January.
Bittersweet is the best way to describe our departure. We are so excited about our new adventure, the job opportunity is fantastic, it is place where neither of us ever imagined living, creating zero expectations (always a good thing), it is also a short trip from Matera and Marconia where I spent my 16th year and fell in love with Italy for the 1st time. Not to mention assuring that our daughter will really be bi-lingual and bi-cultural, which was our plan from conception. With all of that, the bitter sits at the bottom of all of that sweet, I’m sad to leave Charleston. The city finally got under my skin and made me love it, I’ve made some wonderful friends and have loved the close proximity to my family in Atlanta.
To get us excited for the delicious things that await us, he brought us back a few goodies, some dried figs which the cousin of one of his co-workers made. Of course you can find dried figs anywhere these days, but there is nothing industrial about these, you can almost smell the sun that touched them and they have an aroma of fennel and bay leaves from the scatterings in the bag. There is something magical about these figs and it prepares me for the magic that awaits us, that awaits all of you because Italicious is also moving to Puglia and we all know what that means.
Mushroom and Fig Risotto
- 1 cup of carnaroli or Arborio rice (Italians measure rice by demitasse cups, 1 cup for each person and one for the pot)
- ½ an onion, chopped finely
- 1 ounce of dried wild mushrooms (oyster, shitake, porcini, any dried mushrooms will do)
- 1 ounce of dried figs
- 4 cups warm water for soaking dried mushrooms and dried figs, separated
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup of dry white wine wine
- 2 tbsp butter
- a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
- salt to taste
Heat the water for the dried mushrooms and the dried figs. Soak them in the warm for at least 30 minutes for them to hydrate.
When the mushrooms and the figs are hydrated, removed them from the broth with a slotted spoon and roughly chop. Reserve the liquid from the mushrooms and add it to the broth.
Chop onion into fine pieces and bring the broth to a simmer.
Heat a large stove-top casserole pan over medium-high heat and melt butter at the bottom of the pan, covering the pan. When the butter is melted add onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add rice and coat it in the butter, toasting it a bit. When the rice becomes opaque, after about 1 minute add a cup of wine to the pan, enough to cover the rice, stir frequently.
When the rice has absorbed the wine, add a ladleful of broth to the pan and continue stirring. Repeat and once the rice starts to absorb the broth add the mushrooms. Continue adding the broth as the rice absorbs it, you want it to almost dry out before adding the broth each time. Add the figs to the risotto toward the end of its cooking.
When the rice is finished it should be al dente and all of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove from heat and toss chopped parsley in. Serve immediately.
One Year Ago: Turkey Tetrizzini
Two Years Ago: Linguine con Finocchio e Sarde
Three Years Ago: Sfogliatella,