Treat yourself to a fancy homemade Italian meal - GulfToday

Treat yourself to a fancy homemade Italian meal


Mushroom and truffle risotto, served with a side of crusty garlic bread. TNS

If you are a fan of mushrooms and risotto, then you must try this mushroom and truffle risotto with green chile and spinach. Serve it with a side of freshly toasted crusty garlic bread topped with truffle salt, and you have yourself a fancy feast.

The following recipe uses dried mushrooms; try and find dried porcini mushrooms as they add an irresistible flavour to the risotto. Alternatively, you can use dried morel or shiitake mushrooms.

To prepare the dried mushrooms, just soak them in hot water until they are softened. This takes about 20 minutes. Then strain the water through a sieve into a bowl. The water can be used to replace some of the risotto’s broth.


Extra risotto reheats well in the microwave. Or, heat a skillet with olive oil and add the cold, cooked risotto to heat it and crisp it at the edges.


3 to 3 1/2 ounces dried sliced mushrooms, such as sliced porcini, or small whole morel or shiitake (or a combination)

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 shallots, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

12 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, ends trimmed, halved, thinly sliced

1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles, drained

2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice

4 cups baby spinach (2.5 to 3 ounces)

1 cup finely shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese

Salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste


Large Parmesan shavings, optional

Chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 bottled truffle (about 1/2 ounce), finely chopped, optional

Truffle oil or salt, a drizzle and a pinch

1. Put dried mushrooms into a small bowl and cover with very hot water. Let stand until softened, about 20 minutes.

2. Strain mushroom-soaking water through a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter into a medium saucepan. Add broth. Roughly chop the soaked mushrooms and set aside.

3. Heat a large (3 1/2- to 4-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and shallots; saute until soft, 3 minutes. Stir in garlic; saute 1 minute. Add sliced fresh mushrooms; saute until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in soaked mushrooms and green chile. (Recipe can be made to this point up to two days in advance; refrigerate mushroom base and broth separately.)

4. Heat broth mixture over low heat to a simmer. Reduce heat to very low.

5. Reheat mushroom mixture in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in rice; cook, stirring, to toast the grains, 2 minutes.

6. Ladle in about 1/2 cup of the hot broth mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Stir in another 1/2 cup broth and repeat the process, adding about 1/2 cup broth at a time, until the rice has absorbed all of the broth and is nearly tender to the bite. The whole process takes about 25 minutes.

7. Stir in spinach and shredded Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and black pepper. Top with Parmesan shavings and parsley. Serve right away, garnished with truffle and truffle oil or truffle salt, if using.



If you don’t have truffle salt, use a drizzle of a flavourful oil, such as truffle oil or nut oil, and a sprinkling of coarse salt.


1 loaf (about 20 ounces) ciabatta or Italian bread

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon truffle salt (or coarse salt)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice bread horizontally in half; place cut side up on baking sheet.

2. Beat butter in a small bowl with a wooden spoon until soft. Mix in garlic and salt. Smear some of the butter (about 2 tablespoons) over both bread halves.

3. Bake until edges of bread are crusty, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm.

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