Miso Risotto with Peas and Shitake Mushrooms

This dish conjures up a unity of flavours and ingredients from two different parts of the world, however its flavour profile is familiar to both cultures. Japanese miso meets Italian rice. My apologies in advance if I have offended either of these countries – this dish just seems to make sense.

It was spurred on by my flat mate, an enthusiastic cook who loves to try new dishes. “Jen, I have just bought a shitload of miso paste – can you write a few recipes on how to use miso that isn’t exactly Japanese???” Krissy. This one is for you.

So, the two important ingredients from two different cultures are miso and Italian rice. Miso encapsulates the very essence of Japanese cooking with an undeniable umami taste.

Umami: “it is usually so faint and overshadowed by other stronger tastes that it is often difficult to recognize it unless attention is specifically directed towards it” Dr. Kikunae Ikeda

Dr Ikeda discovered the amino acid glutamate through many experiments on Konbu, isolating certain compounds by means of evaporation. Umami is found naturally in food such as mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, fermented and cured food products – just to name a few. It is a taste that has existed for many years and although its’ discovery was in the early 1900’s, it took a little over a century to be officially recognized as the fifth taste, adding to sweet, sour, spicy and bitter.

Now rice – in particular rice for making risotto, you will find more about it here.

This recipe can be made in advanced and cooked until the grains are al dente. When it is time to serve guests, add a little water and mix through to heat up the risotto.

The garnish is not essential but dresses up the dish and makes it look that little bit more special.

Yield: 4

Miso Risotto with Peas and Shitake Mushrooms

prep time: 20 minscook time: 25 minstotal time: 45 mins

ingredients:

Ingredients for Risotto
  • 350g/2cups Arborio or Canaroli Rice

    20g butter

    A good glug of extra virgin olive oil

    140g/1 x Medium onion

    10g/1-2 cloves garlic

    900mls boiling water

    80g/4tblsp miso paste

    200g/1.5 cups green peas (fresh or frozen)

    150g fresh shitake mushrooms

    50g grated parmesan cheese

    white and black pepper

Ingredients for Garnish
  • 1 sheet of nori

    2-3 radishes

    Parmesan cheese

    Extra virgin olive oil

instructions:

The Method
  1. Finely chop onion and garlic – set aside

    Roughly chop the mushrooms as well and set aside

    Mix the miso paste and boiling water in a litre jug until the miso has dissolved

    In a medium heavy base saucepan, fry onions in oil and butter on a medium heat, when the onions are  soft, add in the garlic and then the UNWASHED rice. Mix until all the grains are nicely coated with the buttery oil mixture and the lovely smell of garlic wafts around your nostrils.

    Add in the chopped shitake mushrooms.

    Now you can add some of the miso stock, 100 mls at a time, mixing the rice constantly until all the grains have absorbed the liquid.

    Before the last 200mls of miso stock need to be added, throw in the peas. They won’t take long to cook and we want them looking vibrant and green in our dish!

    When all the liquid has been absorbed (you will need to use your instincts here and may need to add more liquid, depending on how well cooked the rice is or not.)

    Mix through the grated parmesan cheese, add black and white pepper to taste and a little salt if your palate calls for it.

    Plate up the risotto warm and garnish with finely sliced red radishes, nori, grated parmesan cheese and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.



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