Menu 21: Mushroom Risotto and Cold Raspberry Soufflé

Last week we saw some creativity within our group!  Michelle and Cynthia totally went rogue on us and revamped the Scallops & Pesto Crostini recipe and I don’t know about you guys, but their versions looked and sounded (and I bet tasted) better than the original!

That is what I love about savory cooking, the fact that we use the recipes as a springboard to be created and gutsy cooks.

With this week’s menu choices I don’t know how many of you will change it up.  We are looking at two recipes that, if followed by the book, are going to be good no matter what.

  • Mushroom Risotto - page 207
  • Cold Raspberry Soufflé - page 470

Risotto, now who does not love risotto?  I’m a HUGE and I mean humongous fan of risotto and made and posted about risotto before. I love rice, and I can eat it any which way you want to served it to me.  But, risotto holds a special place - maybe because of my Italian roots? Maybe because it’s just comfort food at its best, maybe because I’m still sick as I write this and a bowl of creamy, buttery rice sounds really good right now.  The only tip I can give you is the type of rice to use for your risotto. The principal varieties used in Italy are Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli, Padano, Roma, and Vialone Nano.  Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are considered to be the best (and most expensive) varieties, with different users preferring one over the other (I prefer Vialone Nano). They have slightly different properties: for example Carnaroli is less likely to get overcooked than Vialone Nano, but the latter being smaller cooks faster and absorbs condiments better. 

Then you have the mushrooms to deal with.  The recipe calls for cremini, but you can also use baby portabella, or even chopped Portobello mushrooms – or go totally wild and use dry mushrooms, the recipe also gives you that option as a variation, using dried porcini.  Or why not use both versions? Dry and fresh?  The flavors will be out of this world.  Another tip that I can give you – use very good parmesan cheese, go the extra mile and try to get the best in your supermarket, which is usually Parmigiano-Reggiano, it’s expensive, but you would be surprise that a little goes a long way with this cheese.  If, it’s too pricy for your wallet, the closest legitimate cheese would be the Grana Padano and it tends to be more economical.

Last tip… I suggest you cook your mushrooms FIRST, before the risotto.

Then we have the Cold Raspberry Soufflé.  The recipe uses rose water, which can be found in any local Middle Eastern food store.  The rest is pretty straight up and simple dessert, and after many hours of baking, I have found that simple desserts tend to be the best kind.

So, let’s see who goes bold this time …. I can not wait for your versions

Go and get gutsy!