Lost Shoes Risotto

By • October 7, 2011 • 31 Comments

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Author Notes: When I stayed with the daughter and her classmates in Florence last summer, it was a pleasure to cook for them. Imagine lovely, lithe dancers . . . with the appetites of sled dogs. I'm not remotely exaggerating. The last night before their big performance, I made a wildly nutritious pasta for them. There was probably enough to feed a dozen normal people. The 6 of them polished it off neatly, and in the end were eating it right out of the serving bowl. One of the ingredients was some dried porcini mushrooms.

Fast-forward to the day the daughter and I left (we were the last), we took with us the fantastic sea salt we’d bought, as well as the mushrooms. We set off to Bologna. One night there, I had a dream about trying to find the mushrooms so we could make a risotto. I looked all through my bag(s), and realized that a pair of shoes was also missing. In reality, they were seriously missing because I’d not brought them along. Meanwhile back in the dream, I found the missing shoes (in an armoire of all places - when have I ever put shoes in a closet!), and tucked in the toe of one of them was the package of mushrooms. I was so happy that we could make our risotto, and asked my daughter what we should call it. She thought for a few seconds, then grinned and said, “We should call it Lost Shoes Risotto!

When we got to Aix en Provence a few days later, we made it exactly as I had dreamt it. Here it is. The lemon obviously isn't the main ingredient. It is the critical ingredient. The one that changes the entire character of the dish from acceptable to downright jaw-dropping. Don't add it until the end (Step 3); overcooked zest tends to go bitter.
boulangere

Serves 2 as an entrée, 4 as a side

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • All the mushroom stock
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and diced
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (we used a heavenly little round of goat cheese from the greenmarket, so feel free to sub a couple of ounces)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Minced chives for garnish
  1. Bring some water to a boil, In my dream, I hadn’t wanted to buy stock, so I decided to make an impromptu mushroom stock. Our little kitchenette (very -ette) was nicely equipped with basic equipment, but it clearly was not anticipated that anyone would be doing something so sophisticated as measuring. So I filled a coffee cup four times with boiling water, plus an extra splash. I had put the mushrooms in our one large bowl, poured in the boiling water, and set one of our two dinner plates on top. We poured some wine and sat down to read in front of the lovely huge window that let in a cooling evening breeze. After about a half hour, the water was looking richly brown, so we started prepping the onions and garlic. Start to finish, the mushrooms probably soaked for a good 45 minutes.
  2. I set the bowl of mushrooms and their stock (no strainer) in the microwave to heat up. We melted some butter and added some olive oil and when they were hot, added the garlic. Instantly, our little place was starting to smell seriously good. I added the rice and stirred it around to toast for a few minutes. I added the wine and stirred slowly until most of it was absorbed/evaporated, then moved on to the stock. While I added it a coffee cupful at a time, dodging mushrooms and stirring exquisitely slowly all the while, my daughter made us a beautiful salad and tossed it simply with olive oil and sea salt. As the risotto began to look creamier and creamier, she sliced an unbelievably fresh baguette and filled the wine glasses.
  3. When all the stock was in the pot, and the risotto perfectly al dente, I swirled in the lemon zest and juice, the green onions (their flavor wants to be bright, and they'll lend a bit of a good crunch) a knob of butter, the cheese, and last, the mushrooms and the bit of remaining stock. I seasoned it up, and transferred it to plates. Finally, I snipped some fresh chives over the top. We sat down together and raised a toast to the power of dreams.
Jump to Comments (31)

Tags: dreams, Porcini mushrooms, Risotto

Comments (31) Questions (0)

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almost 3 years ago growinggourmand

This is soooooooooooooo.... unbelivably delicious that it almost makes me cry tears of joy- and to think it resulted from a dream WOW! I wish I had more dreams like that!!! I loved eating this in class. One of my favorite dishes so far! Before class, mushrooms were not my favorite, but this dish really peaked my palate's interest!! It was creamy, warm and had many distinct layers of flavor!!! This was my first interaction with risotto and I ADORED IT! I am looking forward to making this again and trying all sorts of risottos as well!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

So glad we've expanded the range of your palate and interests.

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almost 3 years ago meatball

this was amazing!!! I have not had much risotto but hands down this one is best so far:)

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

So glad you like it.

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almost 3 years ago ashleypiersonchasesdinner

Boulangere, this is fantastic! I love the title, and the moral of the story!! I love risotto, so I can't wait to make this!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh, thank you so much, asp. It's one of my favorites, too. I hope you enjoy it.

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almost 3 years ago LydiaPW

Her strangest dreams always turn into the best food. Really.

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wasn't that a great evening! LOL! Remember the one where I thought you were Esmé!!!

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almost 3 years ago EmilyC

I just had to look at your recipe after reading that title! This sounds so delicious with the dried porcini mushrooms -- earthy, cheesy, creamy goodness!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I love your descriptions, Emily C. You're right, it's all of those.

Cakes

almost 3 years ago Bevi

What a great time to be in that part of the world, aargesi! There will be perfumed air! Btw, I tried to find the link to Austin restos that were posted, by you I think, and could not find it. I am traveling to that part of the world - what are your top 3?

And to the risotto, what a lovely dish!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

She isn't going until the lovely month of May, and I'm already stoking the fires of envy.

Thank you, Bevi.

Buddhacat

almost 3 years ago SKK

Of course you would dream up recipes! I think susan g's equasion is right on and easily proofed. (Proven?)

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This is one of the few that's come to me entirely in a dream. My food dreams tend to the highly stressful or idiotic or both. Like having to prepare food for hundreds in a kitchen full of sinks, but no running water, no counter surface, and just my sister to help me.

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

The moral of the story is: pay attention to your dreams. On many levels.

Nog

almost 3 years ago Niknud

I love mushrooms. And cheese. And risotto. This sounds just wonderful!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you, me too.

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almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

We just bought our tickets to Aix! Well, Paris and a train but - semantics. Now I must try all of your Aix based recipes. My cousin says the market is quite mushroomy this time of year :-)

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You have no idea how I envy you! That market is still with me, we spent so much time in it. When do you leave? How big is your suitcase?

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almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Not til MAY! We like to plan ahead! I have a massive suitcase - never been used - bring that one? You riding in it? :-)

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'm really quite small, and relatively flexible. Good for you for buying so early.

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

And can you imagine how fragrant it will be in May?!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

As Bevi says, the air will be perfumed.

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almost 3 years ago susan g

What cheese? don't see it in the ingredient list...

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oops! Thanks - fixing it now!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

And the chèvre we used was pretty divine.

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almost 3 years ago susan g

Good storyteller = good teacher.
Good dreams = good food?

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

LOL! Dream on, susan g!

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Seriously, you are so kind.

3-bizcard

almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love the name of the recipe and the story and the risotto sounds heavenly. You and the daughter had such a wonderful time and I so love hearing your stories and how they inspired these fantastic recipes.

Dscn2212

almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks, sdb! We did, and it was. We made it in class yesterday, and everyone swooned. I have some students who'd never tasted risotto before. It's great to bring something like this to people for the first time.