1. Let’s begin with cooking the risotto, what makes a good risotto is a creamy like texture that is neither too loose or too dry. Begin by making a shitake stock, in a saucepan add approximately 1 litre of water and 4 dried shitake mushrooms. Bring up to a boil then turn down to a simmer. We will gradually add the stock to the risotto whilst cooking. Next wash, roughly chop then add 75g of shimeji mushrooms to a pan with a drizzle of oil and fry until crispy
2. When the mushrooms are nice and crisp, in the same pan we now want to add 1/2 a finely diced white onion and a minced 3cm piece of ginger. Turn the heat down to a medium low and cook until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant. Then add 1 generous tbsp of red miso and approximately 250g of raw risotto rice, mix well so that the miso coats all of the ingredients. Turn the heat back up to high then add 3 tbsps of sake, 2 tbsps mirin and 1 1/2 tbsps of light soy then reduce to burn off the alcohol. When ready turn the heat back to a low simmer as we want to slowly add the shitake stock little by little to cook the rice. I like to wait until the rice absorbs 1-2 ladles of stock then repeat until nearly cooked. Risotto is one of those things that needs needs constant attention as it may catch if it becomes too dry.
Vegetables and Toppings:
3. Whilst the risotto is cooking we now want to prepare and cook the remaining ingredients. Start by peeling and cutting the asparagus into bite sized pieces. As for the shimeji simply separate each mushroom individually. Now to add a little texture and crisp to the risotto, to make the lotus crisps peel first then slice as thin as possible. When ready add to hot oil set at approximately 170°c and fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. When golden and crispy remove from the oil and drain onto kitchen paper and season lightly with sea salt then place to one side.
4. Just before the risotto is nearly ready we want to cook the asparagus and shemeji mushrooms. In a pan simply add to a high heat with a drizzle of oil and a touch of butter. When the butter starts to foam add the asparagus and mushrooms and fry for 3-4 minutes until cooked. When ready season with salt and black pepper then drain onto kitchen paper and place one side for now.
5. Now back to the risotto, to tell when just about ready the rice should be slightly al dente and have absorbed enough of the stock. The objective now is to get it as creamy as possible, chop approximately 75g of salted butter into a dice then gradually add whilst constantly mixing with a spatula. When creamy and the butter is incorporated we are now looking for the risotto to be not too dry yet not too wet. The best way to check this is by running your spatula down the middle of the pan. What you are looking for is a slight bit of resistance from the rice forming back together. When satisfied and the rice is cooked turn the heat off and grate in some Parmesan. How much is a personal preference really, however, you want the parmesan to bring out the flavour of the miso rather than being too overpowering. Season with additional light soy if needed and we are now ready to serve.
6. Now to serve up this risotto, when your happy with the seasoning divide the risotto into 4 bowls then garnish with a few of the cooked asparagus a shimeji mushrooms. Next add a few fresh leaves and some of the lotus crisps for texture. Drizzle lightly with some olive oil and grate over some fresh parmesan. Hope you like this quick and simple umami bomb!
There are so many different variants you can add to this risotto, I think the best way to approach this recipe is by using the base ingredients such as the mirin, sake, miso and soy then adding additionally which ever you would prefer. I personally would like to try adding clams, uni, or chicken to this risotto! Have fun and I’m sure you will love this hybrid of Japanese/Italian food!