Lost Shoes Risotto

October 7, 2011


Author Notes: When I stayed with the daughter and her dancemates 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 for Bologna, we took with us the fantastic Camargue sea salt we’d bought, as well as the remaining mushrooms. Our first night in Bologna, 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. I finally 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. The dream let me observe her for a few seconds as she thought. Suddenly her face lit up, and she 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,,oddly, is one of the critical ingredients. 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
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hrs

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (we used a tender fresh little round from the open air market in Aix, flavored with a sprig of fresh rosemary)
  • 2 ounces butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste
In This Recipe

Directions

  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 to retain the heat. 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 preparatory to making the risotto. 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, then added the wine and stirred slowly until most of it was absorbed. The stock was next 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 refilled 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.

More Great Recipes:
Risotto|Italian|Grains|Vegetable|Green Onion/Scallion|One-Pot Wonders|Fall|Vegetarian|Side|Entree

Reviews (29) Questions (0)

29 Reviews

growinggourmand October 10, 2011
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!
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 10, 2011
So glad we've expanded the range of your palate and interests.
 
meatball October 10, 2011
this was amazing!!! I have not had much risotto but hands down this one is best so far:)
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 10, 2011
So glad you like it.
 
ashleychasesdinner October 9, 2011
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!
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 9, 2011
Oh, thank you so much, asp. It's one of my favorites, too. I hope you enjoy it.
 
LydiaPW October 8, 2011
Her strangest dreams always turn into the best food. Really.
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 8, 2011
Wasn't that a great evening! LOL! Remember the one where I thought you were Esmé!!!
 
EmilyC October 7, 2011
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!
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
I love your descriptions, Emily C. You're right, it's all of those.
 
Bevi October 7, 2011
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?<br /><br />And to the risotto, what a lovely dish!<br /><br />
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
She isn't going until the lovely month of May, and I'm already stoking the fires of envy.<br /><br />Thank you, Bevi.
 
SKK October 7, 2011
Of course you would dream up recipes! I think susan g's equasion is right on and easily proofed. (Proven?)
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
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.
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
The moral of the story is: pay attention to your dreams. On many levels.
 
Niknud October 7, 2011
I love mushrooms. And cheese. And risotto. This sounds just wonderful!
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
Thank you, me too.
 
aargersi October 7, 2011
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 :-)
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
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?
 
aargersi October 7, 2011
Not til MAY! We like to plan ahead! I have a massive suitcase - never been used - bring that one? You riding in it? :-)
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
I'm really quite small, and relatively flexible. Good for you for buying so early.
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
And can you imagine how fragrant it will be in May?!
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
As Bevi says, the air will be perfumed.
 
susan G. October 7, 2011
What cheese? don't see it in the ingredient list...<br />
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
Oops! Thanks - fixing it now!
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
And the chèvre we used was pretty divine.
 
susan G. October 7, 2011
Good storyteller = good teacher.<br />Good dreams = good food?
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
LOL! Dream on, susan g!
 
Author Comment
boulangere October 7, 2011
Seriously, you are so kind.