Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Mar 9th - Mixed Mushroom and Snow Pea (Mange Tout) Risotto

"Mange Tout" makes me laugh. It's so basic in its description. Pois Mange Tout is what the French call Snow Peas. Snow Peas and Snap Peas are not the same. I made the mistake of assuming they were the same once. They do not taste the same. Snow peas are much sweeter and flatter. The flatness is the shopping key. Back to "Mange Tout". It makes me laugh because it just describes how you eat it. It literally translates as "Eat All". How often do you see that in a food name? "Eat with Spoon", "Drink with Straw", "Needs Cooking". Hahaha. That is not the half of it.

The British call it "Mange Tout" too. How odd is that? The British have so many odd affectations like that. My other favourite is "Gateau". Cake for the British is a plain vanilla sponge with maybe a bit of jam/jelly in the middle. That is called a Victoria Sponge or cake. If you frost it or have frosting in the middle it evolves into a "Gateau". "Gateau" of course is French for cake. The British say it like "Gaah-Toe" like cat-toe. But thankfully "Mange Tout" is more accurately called "Mahnj Too". When I told D that in UK they are called "Mange Tout" (he's French) he asked if they call it "May-nje toot". No. They do not.

Mixed Mushroom and Snow Pea (Pois Mange Tout) Risotto

1/2 c Snow Peas aka Pois Mange Tout
10 fresh crimini
10 dehydrated shitake
10 dehydrated chanterelle (You can use porcini. D meant to use porcini but forgot we had them)
1 shallot minced
1 c arborio rice
1 l veg stock
1/2 - 1 l water to soak the mushrooms and use the water
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c dry white wine
2 T butter
1/2 c fresh grated parmesan

In a small sauce pan, bring the broth to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer. This means tiny tiny bubbles that break once in a while and steam is wafting off the pot. Add the dried mushrooms.

Brush and slice the crimini mushrooms. Trim the ends off the snow peas. D also pulled the 'string' off the spine. I do not do this. I just chop them in half instead. Mince the shallot, fine.

With a T of oil in a hot pan, sautee the mushrooms until browned. The fresh ones! Remove from pan and set aside. I always have the 'set aside' plate as my dinner plate. I like the cooking juicey goodness.

In the same large skillet, heat half the olive oil, medium heat. Add the shallot. Fry for a few minutes until soft. Add the rice and stir until glistening. Add the rest of the oil to ensure the rice is lubricated. Toast for a few minutes. Add the wine by swirling it around in circles in the pan.

As the wine is all but evaporated, add 1 ladle ~1/3 c, of broth/mushroom water. Stir. It is all about the stirring and the love. Risotto is a journey. If you like to cook or you want to love to cook, make a risotto. The trick is not to do it alone. Have a glass of wine and have your eating companion in the kitchen with you as you stir in the love. We have an open concept kitchen. It was not a Vancouver compromise aka space optimisation. It is a part of how we live. As you stir, when you see that you can 'draw' a line down the middle of the pan, like parting the sea, and it does not immediately close up, then add another ladle. Continue this until you are about 1-2 ladles away. This should be about 20-30 minutes in.

Add the snowpeas. Stir. Add the rehydrated mushrooms. Stir. Season to taste. This will depend largely on the broth/stock you use.

Add the last ladle. Add the butter in small pieces around the pan. Cover and let stand with either the heat off or off the heat. Depends on your stove and how fast a burner will cool off. If it keeps really hot for a long time, take it off that burner. I generally let it sit longer for all the stock to be absorbed because I like the rice a bit softer and D likes it al dente. So the broth you see in the plate is optional. It was left in the pot.

Grate in the parmesan and and splash on some flavourful olive oil.

Serve with fresh black pepper and some more fresh parmesan.

This was a fantastic combination. The peas were crisp and bright. They added a great flavour and texture. I know you should generally use fresh mushrooms and we are so lucky to have them available pretty much all the time now but there is something meaty and chewy about rehydrated mushrooms I like. YUMMO!

We had a Burgundy, French Pinot, Domaine Faiveley Mercurey 2005. Gorgeous.

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