Friday, May 27, 2011

Although it may not look like it lately, I have been cooking at home - minus the days we’ve been away traveling.

Sometimes, I don’t find enough time to get the recipes written, the photos edited and all combined together for a post.

However, I made a superb restaurant-quality dinner at home two weekends ago - pan-grilled bonfile, porcini mushroom risotto and grilled asparagus. (I still had some porcinis purchased in the U.S., but I have seen them here at the Macro Centers.)

I was surprised to find fresh asparagus (kuşkonmaz) at the REAL Market down the street from us. To me, asparagus is always one of the first spring vegetables in the U.S. (I even worked on an asparagus farm in Kansas one spring.) I love it! One small bunch of asparagus was 7.50 TL, but that didn’t matter to me just so I could taste this spring veggie again.
I told some of the other American expat women about my discovery and they said it’s a rarity to find asparagus here. Sometimes you can find it canned, but I prefer fresh. Guess I hit the jackpot!

We simply used our Turkish version of a George Foreman grill to grill the asparagus, which I drizzled lightly with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Instead of going out on a Saturday night, we enjoyed a first-rate homemade dinner at home. Hubby manned the grill while I worked on the risotto.

Afiyet olsun!
Garnish the risotto with fresh parsley, toasted pine nuts and more Parmesan if you so desire.
Porcini Risotto
Adapted from an Epicurious.com recipe

Ingredients:
16 oz. water
1 oz. (30 g.)  dried porcini mushrooms

1 T. butter
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
9.5 oz. (275g.) arborio rice
1 ea. small onion, small diced
4 ea. cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 oz. dry white wine
16 oz.+ chicken stock
TT salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring 2 cups water to boil in small saucepan. Add mushrooms. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand until mushrooms soften, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a cutting board; reserve soaking liquid. Rough chop the mushrooms.

This is what the porcinis look like after they
are rehydrated.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

3. Then, add the arborio rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, stirring frequently, about 1 minute.

4. Add the mushrooms and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, leaving any sediment behind in pan. Place lid on pot and cook down until the liquid had nearly evaporated.
5. Cook rice over medium-high heat, stirring often and adding a 4-ounce ladle of the stock. Continually stir this mixture until the liquid is absorbed. Add more stock. Stir again. Repeat this procedure until all the stock is fully absorbed.
6. Cook the rice until it is tender and creamy, but a tad al dente, about 20-30 minutes. (Just taste a bite of your risotto and adjust accordingly with more stock if needed.)
7. Lastly, stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the porcini risotto with pan-grilled steak and a glass of Turkish red wine like we did.

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