Recipes from food stylist Nicolas Ghirlando: Fish fingers to Friday nights.

Pass the buck(wheat)

 

IMG_5463Another carb-free week goes by and I’m fine. I don’t miss bread as much as I thought. Basmati rice though, is a little harder to give up, we had lunch at Lahore Karai in Tooting the other day and the children tucked into a big plate of it without loosening their belts.

This week I’ve made a few dishes that are more springlike. A confit tuna Niçoise, a spring minestrone, smoked salmon with avocado and eggs, and a light spinach and apple soup among other things.

Last night though, with a breaking boiler and the cold weather still biting, we fancied something cosy and comforting: risotto. Rice is out of the question, but I’ve been using buckwheat a lot recently. I used buckwheat flour to make the children galettes the other day for lunch and I also used it to make soba noodles to go in a prawn and tofu miso soup. In the past I’ve toasted it in a frying pan before cooking it, making kasha to serve with salmon steaks. So I used it in place of my favourite Vialone Nano rice to make this simple mushroom ‘risotto’.

Ingredients
For two
150g buckwheat
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1tbsp powdered, dried porcini mushrooms (you can make your own in a grinder)
150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
400ml chicken or vegetable stock. I used homemade chicken stock.
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2tbsp butter
Grated parmesan
Chopped parsley to serve

Method
Sauté the mushrooms in a little oil and set aside.
Heat some oil in a saucepan and add the onion and buckwheat. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the grains are beginning to toast a little.
Add the garlic, mushroom powder, season a little and stir well.
Add a ladleful of the stock to the pan and stir well. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the buckwheat absorb the liquid before adding the next. Keep on doing this until the stock is finished or the buckwheat is soft, but with a little bite.
Add the cooked mushrooms and stir.
Now for the ‘mantecatura’. Add the butter and Parmesan and vigorously shake the pan while stirring with a wooden spoon. Put a lid on and leave to rest for a few minutes. Stir through some chopped parsley and serve with more Parmesan.

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