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Alessi cuisine



Risotto with boletus mushrooms

(Risotto co' porcini al naturale)

  • 300 grams of semipure rice
  • 1 kg of fresh and perfumed boletus mushrooms
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • a small bunch of "nepitella"
  • 4-5 red tomatoes
  • 5-6 spoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 spoon of granular broth of boletus mushrooms
  • 1 stock cube of boletus mushrooms
  • 20 grams of dried boletus mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
Clean with care the mushrooms, scraping the earth parts of the stalks and rubbing with a dampened cloth the upper part of the mushrooms without washing them, then cut them in slices as wide and big as possible.
Check all the slices carefully and separate the slices which are a bit marked, perforated or worm eaten (in June it is very easy to find mushrooms with these defects); if you want you can remove, by cutting away, the parts which are a bit defective. Choose 300 grs of the "perfect" mushrooms (that means the upper parts) and cut them in cubes, not too small (about 3-4 centimetres) and leave them in order to use afterwards.
Leave all the slices as large as possible and lay them on a tray (if they are a bit worm eaten, salt them in order the worms could leave): they can be used for another preparation.
Now back to the rice.
Take a small saucepan with a well adhesive lid and with a very thick bottom. Put all the ingredients together: oil, the cubes of mushrooms, 5 garlic cloves, "nepitella", the pieces of tomatoes, salt and pepper, 2-3 spoons of water and let them cook for 15-18 minutes over a low heat, the pan covered, and continuously turning.
In the meanwhile take another small saucepan and put 1/2 litre of water together with the stock cube and let it boil, for 2-3 minutes, in order to obtain a broth. Take out from the heat and put the dried mushrooms, for 10 minutes, in order to reconstitute them.
As soon as the mushrooms in the first saucepan will be cooked, remove the small bunch of "nepitella" and the garlic cloves, which will be easy to identify.
Take a blender, pour the broth with the dried reconstituted mushrooms and the granular stuff for broth, the other two garlic cloves and then mix very well in order to obtain a very liquid mixture, a sort of broth (add some spoons of hot water in case it would be too thick) that you will put once again in the saucepan, keeping it warm to use afterwards for cooking the rice.
At this time come back to the pan where the mushrooms are boiling and put a first big spoon of broth (the one obtained with the dried mushrooms) and boil for 2 minutes, over a quite brisky heat, then pour the rice.
Turn and mix very well, back to the boiling but slowly, without increasing the heat, and cook for 15 minutes continuously turning. As soon as the rice starts to get thicker, gradually add some broth of dried mushrooms, until you obtain the final cooking whcih should be "al dente", but not too much.
Serve the rice in the plates without adding anything else, because the flavour and smell of the boletus mushrooms should stand out and dominate and, if the flavour is good and not modified by "maquillage" operations, the discrete flavour of the rice will exalt it.
As it is concerned with the preliminary operations on the mushrooms, first of all we would like to add: "Chi non vuol mangiar bachi, non mangi funghi" (if you do not want to eat worms, you do not have to eat mushrooms). This is a Tuscany motto, full of wise truth! Even more in June. As the boletus mushrooms are very delicious and very expensive, it is a pity both going without them and chopping away even the minimum part.
For this reason the popular "wisdom" has elaborated, beside the rice which wants the mushrooms "impeccable", the PIE which reuslts very tasty (and at the same time hides very well the defects) even with the less perfect parts.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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