Autumn at Donovans

There is nothing more Autumn that mushrooms and chestnuts! My afternoon walks through the forest mid-april were very rewarding!

A rainy day followed by a sunny one will always guarantee a fruitful day picking mushrooms….along the pine grove in the forest near where we live, we tiptoe through the trees with our ‘mushroom eyes’ on…scanning the ground for the mushrooms that ever so slightly, poke their tops through the pine needles that smother the ground.  You can do so much with mushrooms but simple is best, keeping the texture and earthy flavour. Risotto, pasta, baked with thyme or simple sautéed in butter with shallots, tarragon and garlic – you cant go wrong.

There is an abundance of chestnuts on the ground ready for the taking. At home, we score a cross in the chestnuts, then roast them over an open flame until they pop open. At the table, with good conversation, we peel the chestnuts then we do a few things to them…we eat them, make chestnut puree and candy them – ready for some delicious desserts

Chestnuts and Slippery Jack Mushrooms found on my afternoon walk through the forrest.

Chestnut and Pine Mushroom Risotto with Gremolata

At Donovans we created a beautiful Chestnut and Pine Mushroom Risotto with Gremolata. We hope you enjoy cooking this for your family and friends.

Serves 6

Chesnut and Mushroom Soffrito
200g brown onion, finely chopped
200g chestnuts – roasted, rough chopped
100g pine mushrooms, finely chopped
50g butter, diced

In a heavy based stainless steel pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and sweat off until soft and translucent. Add a pinch of salt. Add the mushrooms and cook until they soften and all liquid evaporated Add the chestnuts last – cook for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary – set aside. You should end up with a duxellle mix – not too dark

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped (make sure parsley is super dry first)
1 tsp lemon zest, then gone over with a knife to make super fine
1x half garlic clove, minced

Mix all together adding a pinch of salt

Cooking the Rice
50ml olive oil
200g good quality risotto rice
100g celery, finely diced
125ml white wine
750ml vegetable stock, hot
1x bay leaf
1x sprig of thyme

In the widest stainless steel pot you have, heat the oil until it ripples. Add the celery and saute until translucent. Add a pinch of salt. Add the rice and stir gently with the spatula until the rice is ‘hot to touch’.

Deglaze with the white wine and add the bay and thyme. Make sure you heat is high. Reduce to nothing then add the hot stock bit by bit, stirring until the rice is al dente

Fold thought 3 Tbsp. of the soffrito then fold through a hefty pinch of gremolata. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like. Garnish with extra pieces of roasted chestnuts and some slices of sauteed pine mushrooms on top !



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Donovans - Tuesday to Sunday – Lunch & Dinner
40 Jacka Boulevard St Kilda VIC 3182 Australia

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