Monday, September 23, 2013

Alaska Shaggy Mane Risotto

Up here in Alaska, the Shaggy Manes come out in full force during the fall-when we typically get a lot of rain. After only a few rainy days, this tasty fungus starts to pop up all over the place.  Shaggy Mane's are very mild and can be used in virtually any mushroom dish. You do have to use them within several hours of picking, though...if not, they rapidly turn into a black, inky mush.  I thought a flavorful way to prepare these would be in a risotto. While risotto is not difficult to make, it is time consuming - about 30 minutes of constant stirring. But when you see the smiles around the dinner table you will know it was well worth it! Besides, it's fun to say, "I literally harvested our dinner off the front lawn this evening!" ~Patti 
1 lb. Shaggy Mane's, washed and sliced lengthwise
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced and divided
2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper
2 cups Abrorio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Fresh Italian parsley for garnish

This recipe serves 8, but can easily be halved

These are beautiful Shaggy Mane mushrooms on the left. The ones on the right have already started to 'ink.' Once they start to turn black, they are not good to eat. As with all mushrooms, make sure you don't confuse them with a look-alike that may be inedible.

Clean and slice mushrooms lengthwise.

Saute first half of the garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add mushrooms, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley.  Saute, medium high heat for about 5 minutes until mushrooms are cooked, but not soggy. These mushrooms produce a lot of liquid, so I found that you will need to drain them after you saute (but do set aside about 1/4 cup of the liquid to use in the risotto).

Coat pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute the rest of the onion and garlic. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated and opaque, about 1 minute. This prevents the grains from sticking, so don't be tempted to skip this step.

Stir in wine and cook until nearly all evaporated - about 5 min.
Now add 1 cup of broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. This takes about 7 minutes and you need to stir fairly constantly. Add remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing rice to absorb all of the broth before adding the next cup. This is the trick to perfect risotto.  If you have any liquid set aside from sauteing the mushrooms, add in during this process. 
Finished risotto is creamy and slightly firm, not mushy. 
Add Parmesan, folding in until it melts. 

Carefully, stir mushrooms into rice mixture.  Remember to remove the bay leaf. 

Garnish with Italian parsley before serving.  
Some dogs are trained to root out truffles - Folly is more of a Shaggy Mane kind of pup :)

Seems like Roxy, Audrey's pup up in Fairbanks, likes Shaggy Manes too!