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This is a Delia Smith recipe which my friend, Denise, from Lisle-sur-Tarn served at dinner one night at her place and passed the recipe to me.


10g dried porcini mushrooms

225g fresh dark-gilled mushrooms

60g butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Italian Arborio rice measured to the 175ml level in a measuring jug

150ml dry Madeira

2 level tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (see intro), plus 50g extra, shaved into flakes with a potato peeler

salt and freshly milled black pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2


You will need an ovenproof dish, approximately 23cm square, 5cm deep with a 1.5 litre capacity


First of all you need to soak the dried porcini mushrooms and to do this, you place them in a jug or a bowl and pour 570 ml of boiling water over them.

Then just leave them to soak and soften for half an hour. Meanwhile, chop the fresh mushrooms into 1 cm chunks – not too small, as they shrink down quite a bit in the cooking.

Now melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the onion and let it cook over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, then add the fresh mushrooms, stir well and leave on one side while you deal with the porcini.


When they have had their half-hour soak, place a sieve over a bowl, line the sieve with a sheet of kitchen paper and strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Squeeze any excess liquid out of them, then chop them finely and transfer to the pan to join the other mushrooms and the onion.


Keep the heat low and let the onions and mushrooms sweat gently and release their juices – which will take about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the dish in the oven to warm. Now add the rice and stir it around to get a good coating of butter, then add the Madeira, followed by the strained mushroom soaking liquid.


Add a level teaspoon of salt and some freshly milled black pepper, stir and bring up to simmering point, then transfer the whole lot from the pan to the warmed dish. Stir once then place it on the centre shelf of the oven without covering.


Set a timer and give it 20 minutes exactly. After that, gently stir in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, turning the rice grains over. Now put the timer on again and give it a further 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and put a clean tea cloth over it while you invite everyone to be seated.


Like soufflés, risottos won't wait, so serve presto, pronto on warmed plates and sprinkle with the shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano.


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