AUTUMNAL Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

It's Autumn and there's a chill in the air. It's mushroom risotto time! Perhaps you've been out picking some saffron milk cap mushrooms and want to use them in a delicious way. This saffron milk cap risotto has so much flavour and colour from the use of these beautiful mushrooms as well as saffron and a secret ingredient. I promise that this is so far away from a boring mushroom risotto and it is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto
Saffron Milk Cap Mushrooms

I am rather obsessed with saffron milk cap mushrooms. I sort of have to be because Mr NQN loooves foraging for them and often comes back with boxes of them that we share with friends. Every Autumn we make a pilgrimage to the Blue Mountains so that he can pick them in the pine forests there and I cook them. You can treat them like you would a typical brown or white mushroom in terms of how to cook them.

If you don't have any saffron milk caps, this mushroom risotto works with regular mushrooms but the use of saffron in the stock brings out the beauty of the bright orange Saffron Milk Cap mushrooms. When I was making up this recipe I had my favourite Italian chef consultant Monica on hand. I asked her if I should use garlic in the risotto because it was a mushroom risotto and she said that garlic is never used in risotto, only onion. I did worry whether we would get enough flavour in it but I shouldn't have. This was so delicious that I ate two plates worth.

Tips for making an AMAZING Mushroom Risotto:

1 - Most risotto recipes use a lot of rice. This recipe uses only 1/2 cup or arborio rice and over 4.5 cups of liquid (stock and dry white wine) and that makes for the best, authentic risotto. Risotto should never be clumpy or dry and it should have plenty of liquid to make a sauce. Monica says, "You want every bit of rice to be separate but held together by plenty of creamy, starchy goodness. You want it to be liquid enough to make 'waves' when you shake it in the pan. It should not sit up on a plate."

2 - Garlic is never used in traditional risotto, only onion. I know that this might be a surprise but it really doesn't need it.

3 - This particular risotto is all about the colours so I would recommend using white or yellow onion rather than red.

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

4 - This saffron milk cap risotto is so utterly delicious like this because of the addition of a small amount of blue cheese, just a mere 25g or 1 ounce. I promise even if you aren't a blue cheese lover, you don't taste it in this quantity. All it does is become a powerhouse of flavour, like a delicious stock cube.

5 - Serve risotto immediately as the rice will start to soak up the liquid. But even if you don't eat it all at once, you can reheat it on the stove just adding a bit more stock to loosen it up.

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

I have Monica to thank for getting Mr NQN to eat risotto because he used to refuse to eat it but now he loves it and it's such a handy recipe to have on hand when you need to make dinner when the fridge or vege crisper is depleted. All my risotto recipes from 2021 onwards are based on her magical risotto recipe and rice to stock proportions.

Although we've known each other since 2015 (we first met at a restaurant on the Central Coast when she came up to me and told me that she read my blog and a friendship bloomed from there when we realised how similar we are). There are also things that I am just learning about her. Like I picked her up in the car the other day and she told me that she had never heard Foo Fighters before as I was playing one of their songs. And before that she told me that she hadn't ever eaten Vegemite too after living here in Australia for a decade.

And when I messaged her to see if she was home so that I could drop off a box of saffron milk cap mushrooms that we had just foraged she broke the sad news to me that she was allergic to wild mushrooms! Which meant that we had an extra box of mushrooms that became this mushroom risotto.

So tell me Dear Reader, do your friends know everything about you or are you an enigmatic person? How often do you make risotto?

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1/2 cup/125ml/4flozs. extra virgin olive oil, divided in two
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used Coppertree Farms truffle butter)
  • 300g/10.6ozs. saffron milk cap mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thinly
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 1/2 cup/105g/3.7ozs. arborio rice
  • 4 cups/1litre/2.1pints chicken stock
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2/3 cup/165mls/5.5flozs dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup/125ml/4flozs cream
  • 25g/1oz blue cheese

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

Step 1 - Heat half of the olive oil in a frying pan along with the butter and sauté the mushrooms on medium high heat turning so that they all get a "bath" in the butter and oil. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the pan and set aside.

Step 2 - Add the remaining half of olive oil and the onion to the same pan and sauté on medium heat. You don't want the onion browned or caramelised, just cooked through and translucent. This can take 5-8 minutes. While the onion is cooking heat up the stock and saffron in a saucepan and keep on low heat on another hob.

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

Step 3 - When the onion is buttery soft and translucent add the rice and stir to coat the grains in the oil. Then add a ladle of chicken stock and stir and allow to absorb the liquid. Keep adding a ladleful of stock and stir to absorb - it doesn't have to be constant stirring - I add the stock into the rice and then stir it once and leave it to absorb. Repeat until all of the stock is used and the rice is cooked (around 15-20 minutes). Towards the end you can add more ladlefuls of stock at a time but in the first half add 1 ladle at a time. Add the white wine and let this absorb and add the crumbled blue cheese and stir. Add half of the mushrooms and stir through and add seasoning.

Step 4 - Spoon the rice onto a serving plate or bowl (it shouldn't be a high pile of rice). Top with the remaining half of mushrooms and chopped chives or parsley.

Saffron Milk Cap Mushroom Risotto

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