So, to tell you about this recipe, I have to tell you about my friend, Maria. She is one of my favourite people in the world and one of my favourite things about her is that, like me, she just LOVES food. Maria and I have had many many conversations about favourite foods, including one memorably quiet Friday at work when we made a list of our top 10 foods and this dish was on Maria's list. You may agree, as I did at the time, that this is a pretty unusual combination but with this in mind I was intrigued. Fast forward a few months and I was at Maria's house for dinner and got my first chance to try this. At this point I realised that although Maria deserves the credit for bringing this dish to my attention, the actual kudos has to go to her husband, Scott and son, Stevan who make this dish. It is HEAVENLY and although my version is tasty I promise you that it is far cry from the perfection of Scott's risotto. So although Scott and Stevan can have the credit for the best risotto ever, Maria still gets the credit for being a great friend and a person who is always there for me when I need her with wine, risotto and a shoulder to cry on.
1 litre of stock
3 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
Half a head of celery
400 grams of risotto rice
2 glasses of white wine
90 grams of parmesan cheese (although i have used cheddar before and it is still pretty tasty so don't worry if you don't have any parmesan)
Dried mixed herbs
1 black pudding (the sausage shaped one which will give you small rounds, not the big slices you would have with your bacon at breakfast - although if this is all you had in the house, it's not a major problem!)
In a pan heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter, add the finely chopped onion, celery and 2 cloves of the garlic and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes until softened.
Add the rice to the pan and keep stirring until the rice starts to look slightly translucent.
Add the wine and keep stirring until it has been absorbed by the rice.
Add your first ladle of stock and a pinch of salt.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next - this will take around 15 minutes.
Carry on adding the stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite, if you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.
Remove from the heat and add another tablespoon of butter and the cheese, stir well, place a lid on the pan and leave it to sit so that the cheese and butter melts into the risotto giving a perfect, oozy finish.
Melt the remaining butter in a pan and add the final crushed garlic clove and the chopped mushrooms, cook until softened.
Sprinkle some dried herbs over the mushrooms then push them to the side of the pan and add the sliced black pudding.
Once the black pudding is heated right through, serve the risotto in the centre of your plate with the garlic mushrooms on top and the black pudding round the edge.
If you have any left over risotto, I recommend using it for risotto balls the following night. Put some whisked egg in a bowl and some breadcrumbs in a seperate bowl. Heat some oil in a pan, then shape the cold risotto into balls, dip in the egg then the breadcrumbs and fry until golden.