The Cottage Cooking Club: September
In August, I tested out being a guest blogger with The Cottage Cooking Club. Launched in May, this group, led by Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness, is taking one year to collectively cook through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook, River Cottage Veg. I enjoyed the recipes I cooked in August and was so enticed by the ones others in the group made that I’ve decided to continue for the rest of the year.
Andrea does a great job of choosing a monthly set of recipes that match what’s in season where I live. Right now, as September is ending, we have had a mix of crisp cool sunny days with some “last-ditch effort” warm days before summer gives up. Uncharacteristically, it’s in the eighties today, more hot than warm. The USDA says our first frost date is October 15. Soon enough, the leaves will change color and fall, and the garden will take its well-deserved winter’s rest, so I’m enjoying these remnants of summer while they last.
For September, I committed to making Mushroom Risoniotto. This dish is inspired by risotto, but instead of the Arborio rice, its base is cooked orzo (also known as risoni), rice-shaped pasta. The pasta is tossed with a rich, earthy, creamy mushroom sauce.
To start, mixed mushrooms are sautéed in butter and oil. Wild mushrooms are recommended. I was hoping for some shiitake and oyster mushrooms to add to the mix, but the store I went to (not my usual market) only had white button mushrooms and cremini so I used what I found, half and half. Once the mushrooms are caramelized, garlic, thyme and balsamic vinegar are added, followed by some wine. I didn’t have white wine, but the Madeira I used added a rich undertone to the sauté. Finally, a touch of cream is mixed in for a delicious sauce. To finish, the cooked pasta is stirred into the sauce and topped with chopped parsley.
It’s been a while since I’ve made a new side dish recipe I’ve enjoyed as much as this one. It was so easy to prepare, and its flavors are an invitation to the cooler weather of fall. While I served this as an accompaniment to grilled steak and salad caprese, a larger portion served with a green salad would also make a hearty meal. Risoniotto has earned a place in the cool weather rotation in my kitchen.
The recipe can be found on-line here or on page 258 of River Cottage Veg. To see what the other group members made and how it turned out, check out their links here. I can’t wait to see what October brings!