With South Africa in the midst of a nation-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus, we heard the rumours that our faithful Caesarstone followers are finding themselves in the kitchen with a need for new recipes! And with winter approaching, we reached out to chef Matt Manning to bring a little warmth into the home with an uplifting and hearty meal for you to try. Take it away, Matt!
It hasn’t been an easy time for any of us, and judging by all the recipe posts I’m seeing online, many of us have turned to cooking (or should that be banana bread?) as our preferred form of group therapy, to cope with this uncertain new world. I definitely do feel there is something therapeutic about getting creative in the kitchen; bringing all the senses together into the process to create something that not only looks, smells and tastes amazing, but which helps you care for – and connect with – your partner(s)-in-isolation… be it your significant other, children, housemate; or even yourself.
While I am missing my Chef’s Studio, stunning Caesarstone countertops and fancy chef equipment, it’s still important for me to keep busy in the kitchen while at home. I decided to create ‘Quarantine Cuisine’; a series of simple, delicious recipes which make use of ingredients you’re likely to already have in your fridge or pantry, and so I was thrilled when Caesarstone gave me a call to ask me to put together a dish for you.
When I need a little pick-me-up, there are few things I crave quite as much as a big pot of buttery carbs. There’s also a definite nip in the air which calls for something warm and comforting – and I personally believe there is nothing more deserving of the term ‘comfort food’ than a delicious, creamy risotto.
Fun Fact: this mushroom risotto was the first dish I ever made for my wife Roxanne. Full disclaimer: I actually made it for her then-housemate, and Roxanne ended up wangling herself a spot at the dinner table that evening, as a passionate (or should that be persistent?) foodie! She maintains, to this day, that this particular dish was a key factor in her agreeing to marry me.
Risotto is not a difficult to make, but the secret to a great risotto is patience – very important to getting that perfect, creamy yet al-dente consistency. Another tip is to keep checking your seasoning (nothing worse than a bland risotto!) and to make sure you don’t skimp on the butter! Being in lockdown is not a time for counting calories. Enjoy a big steaming bowl preferably on the couch, with a giant glass of your favourite vino to accompany, and a nice little fire on the go!
MATT MANNING’S MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Serves 4…or 2 very hungry people in lockdown!
- 500g Mushrooms, quartered (I use Portabellini, but any type would work)
- 1 Onion, finely diced
- 2x Cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- Sprig of thyme
- 1x Small bunch of chives, finely chopped
- 80g Butter
- 500g Arborio rice
- 200g Grated Parmesan
- 200ml White wine
- 1l Chicken stock
- 1x Lemon
- Drizzle of truffle oil (optional)
- Fresh rocket or other herbs, to garnish (optional)
- Salt & Pepper
- Place a large pan or skillet on your stove, with the heat turned medium-high.
- Add a knob of butter, a sprig of thyme, and the mushrooms to the pan. Season with salt to taste. Sauté until browned, and then add a dash of white wine to deglaze the pan. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- In the same plan (don’t clean it!) add another knob of butter, as well as your diced onion and garlic, sautéing until translucent. Next, add your rice to the pan with another knob of butter, stirring the melting butter and onion through the rice until it is slightly ‘toasty’; this will help the rice ‘drink up’ the stock, which you’ll add shortly.
- Once your rice is well-coated with the butter, add the rest of your white wine to the pan, stirring continuously.
- Keeping your stock nearby and on high heat, start adding a ladle at a time to the pan with the rice mixture, continuing to stir.
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes while stirring continuously, adding salt to taste, until your rice is al dente and all of the stock has been added and is absorbed.
- Add 2 or 3 more knobs of butter, as well as your grated parmesan, and stir throughout the mixture. At this stage your mixture should almost have a ‘porridge-like’ consistency, and be smooth and glossy.
- To finish, add a drizzle of truffle oil and the chopped chives to the rice, mixing through.
- To serve, spoon a generous helping of the risotto onto a plate, decorating with the mushrooms we set aside at the beginning. Give a final crack of salt and black pepper, finely grate over a light layer of parmesan, and garnish with fresh rocket and a squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy!
“YOU WANT MORE? WELL THEN READ ON BELOW!”
Matt Manning is a proud Caesarstone SA ambassador, as well as the Chef Patron at ‘Grub & Vine’ and the ‘Chef’s Studio’. The Chef’s Studio is Matt’s interactive cooking events space, complete with a stylish, state-of-the-art kitchen kitted out with Caesarstone’s Rugged Concrete surfaces, as well as an elegant dining area for guests to enjoy their culinary creations.
Watch Matt in action by clicking the images below: