Browned butter with crispy sage gives an incredible edge to pasta, gnocchi or risotto. Try this easy risotto made with mixed exotic mushrooms – creamily decadent, it’s the stuff dreams are made of! Choose a good quality stock (or take the time to make your own) – it really makes a difference in the taste. Then tuck in with a glass of the Creative Block 5.
For the browned sage butter:
• 125g butter
• A handful sage leaves (woody stalks removed)
For the mushroom risotto: (serves 4)
• 400g mixed exotic mushrooms
• 10ml (2 teaspoons) olive oil
• 15ml (1 tablespoon) butter
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 2 cups (500 ml) arborio rice
• 3 sprigs thyme, woody stalks removed
• 180ml (3/4 cup) dry white wine
• about 1,5L (6 cups) good quality chicken stock, warmed (or vegetable stock)
• Salt and pepper
• 1/3 cup (180 ml) finely grated parmesan cheese
For the browned butter: in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Keep simmering, as you swirl the saucepan from side to side until the butter turns a light golden colour and starts to smell nutty. Immediately add the sage leaves and turn off the heat, swirling the pan to cover the leaves all over in butter - it will spatter and turn crispy in under a minute. Set aside to cool while you make the risotto.
Divide the mushrooms in half. Chop one half in small-ish pieces (for using in the risotto), and slice the other half into thin slices. Panfry the sliced mushrooms in butter and season with salt and pepper, then set aside until the risotto is cooked.
In a medium size pot, heat the olive oil and butter, then add the onion and fry until soft but not brown. Add the rice, thyme and chopped mushrooms (see step 2), then stir, frying until the rice starts to toast lightly.
Add the wine and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Stir until the wine has been reduced almost completely, then start adding the stock one ladle at a time, stirring slowly in-between until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue for about 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is just-cooked with a slight bite in the centre, but still runny with liquid (it should be the consistency of lava). Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, then stir in the parmesan and cover with a lid to rest for 5 minutes.
Reheat the browned butter, if necessary. Transfer the risotto into bowls, then top with a generous swirl of browned butter and a sage leaf or two. Serve immediately.
Note: Risotto will always continue to thicken on standing. Don’t leave it unattended after completing the cooking process and 5min resting – it must be served immediately for optimal results.
About the wine
This medium- to full-bodied wine, Creative Block 5 dazzles with complexity, showing decadent dark chocolate and cranberry depth as well as tomato leaf and thatch notes. The palate is juicy and sweet-fruited, framed by concentrated tannins and complemented by subtle hints rooibos tea and wet earth. Superb balance and effortless weight leads to a long, classy finish. Stock up now, and enjoy over the next decade.