Wild mushroom risotto with rocket pesto


For years, since newly married, I think of a dinner for friends as rather me having a mini restaurant .... the menu, the table, glassware, crockery, linen, atmosphere, candles... the list goes on... a tiny restaurant in my home... no wonder my favourite restaurant holds only 14 people and is exactly my dreams ... @marieanne.  The food is exquisite, the room, my heaven and once, in another life, I was lucky enough to have a birthday there, 14 special people to share this experience with me... a total spoil.  

A real memory xxx

Many moons ago, when Masterchef begun, I was clearly, in my mind, there too. With Lloyd Grosman guiding us through with those brave amateur chefs, seeing their creations, it was me!  Every small paperback recipe book was brought every year, so I could re create and be, in my tiny world, on the show!  (Still that little girl really!). 

Much later, and firmly into John and Greggs realm, still Masterchef cookery books brought, I discovered my go to mushroom risotto recipe....  A firm favourite in my home.   It has taught both my daughters, risotto making, the slow and patience practise and fresh pesto making... you can never fail to spice up a last minute supper with a fresh pesto.  It’s now requested by many a tired, hungry teenager who are returning from school and university alike.  I serve this with a deliciously crisp green salad, (only proper old fashion lettuce for me), a few chopped eschalion shallots, (so they dont repeat on you for ever more) and a salad dressing, taught to me years ago by my french mother in law. Delicious xxx

Serves 4

Vegetable stock

200g chestnut mushrooms, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

1 leek, chopped,

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf


2 tbsp olive oil

6 banana shallots, finely chopped

300g carnaroli rice

120ml vermouth

60g salted butter

50g freshly grated parmesan

1 tbsp mascarpone 


2 - 3 tbsp olive oil

2 handfuls small chanterelles, or dried and soaked in a small amount of hot water, drained

25g salted butter

Rocket pesto

60g toasted pinenuts

1 garlic clove, chopped

60g fresh grated parmesan

100g rocket

150ml olive oil

Parmesan shavings 

For the stock, put all the ingredients into a large saucepan, cover with 1.5 litres of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, occasionally removing any skum from the top.  Strain the stock and keep warm over a low heat. It should be about 1.2 litres of stock.

For the risotto, heat the oil in a large saucepan on a low heat and add the shallots, fry until translucent. Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes until rice fully coated with oil and shallot. Pour in the vermouth and reduced until all gone. Add a ladle of hot stock and stir the rice until it has all been absorbed.  Continue until the rice is al denté, about 20 minutes, beat  in the butter and fold the mascarpone in. It should be gloriously runny. Season.

For the chanterelles, heat a small sauté pan over a medium heat, when it is hot add the olive oil and then the mushrooms. Add the butter, fry for another 1-2 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft, season with salt and pepper. Stir most of them through the risotto, keeping a few back for serving

For the rocket pesto, put the pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan into a food processor and whizz for 30 seconds. Add the rocket and process  again, while slowing adding the olive oil until the mixture is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, don’t process too long as the rocket will discolour. 

To serve, spoon some risotto into the middle of a bowl, scatter some mushrooms over. Take a tablespoon of pesto drizzle on top and a shaving of Parmesan. Xxx















Emma Longmore