Chicken, Porcini and Rocket Risotto

I am always up for experimenting and changing a recipe if I find a good basis, to add something new or adjust it for my tastes and this is one such recipe – after all, this is what I am learning that cooking is all about.

I love a good Italian Ask style Chicken and Mushroom Risotto – its the same wherever you have it and I have not had a bad one yet! So when I saw the Porcini and Spinach Risotto recipe in a suppliment with a free copy of an Olive Magazine, I thought I would have a go at it, having never made a risotto before and keen to keep trying to learn new things.

So I followed the recipe to the letter and it was very good, if not lacking something though – so I reminded myself of the Chicken and Mushroom Risotto’s I had had before and decided that next time I cooked it I would add chicken to the recipe.

A month went by and we decided to make it again and added the seasoned chicken that I had browned off at the start, along with a change from spinach to rocket – I had no spinach in my cupboard or fridge but had an abundance of rocket, some which was growing in my ‘cut and grow’ salad leaf box.

My girlfriends reaction to the changed recipe was ‘wow thats as good as you get in a restaurant’ which was great to hear and a lot more than had I expected! Due to that reaction, I have since made it several times at home and also for my parents on a visit back to the family home – they loved it too.

It certainly isnt rocket science (no pun intended… honestly) and has probably been made a thousand ways like this before but for me to learn to put ingredients together in this way and make something that I love to eat time and time again, cant be that bad!

So here is my Chicken, Porcini and Rocket Risotto variation:

25g Dried Porcini
2 Chicken Breasts (diced)
50g Butter
1 Onion (sliced)
1 Garlic Clove (crushed)
250g Chestnut Mushrooms (the magazine said 200g but every punnet I buy is 250g so why waste the extra 50g)
150g Risotto Rice
1 Glass of White Wine (Large preferably)
750ml Vegetable Stock
50g Rocket
Parmesan shavings

1 Soak the porcini in boiling water for 10 minutes and strain through a sieve, keeping the liquid for the risotto later.

2 After soaking, roughly chop the porcini.

3 Heat the butter in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic till soft.

4 At the same time, brown the diced chicken breasts in some olive oil and season and put to one side once cooked.

5 Once the onions are soft, add the sliced chestnut mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.

6 Then add the chicken, porcini and rice and stir together until coated.

7 Tip in the wine until it is absorbed.

8 Gradually add the stock and porcini liquid, stirring, until the rice is tender with some bite.

9 Stir in the rocket until wilted.

Serve with parmesan shavings and enjoy!

NB I have noticed that the more organic the chestnut mushrooms are (they seem a lot darker) the darker the dish and rice is once cooked. Using supermarket mushrooms, the rice and dish appears a lot lighter once cooked. If it is darker, dont panic – you havent burnt it!!

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