Cook it, live It – risotto with mushrooms

Cook risotto with mushrooms from Elizabeth David on Vegetables, live it with stylish Habitat dinnerware.

‘This is a very simple form of risotto. Take 2 cups (300g / 10oz) of Italian rice, 1.25 litres / 2 pints of vegetable or chicken stock, 1 wine glass of oil, 1 medium onion chopped fine, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, 125g / ¼lb of white mushrooms cut into slices. Into a heavy sauté pan put the oil and as soon as it is warm put in the onion, the garlic and the mushrooms. As soon as the onion begins to brown, add the rice and stir until it takes on a transparent look. This is the moment to start adding the stock, which should be kept just on the boil by the side of the fire. Pour in about 2 cups at a time, and go on stirring and adding stock each time it has been absorbed.

The whole process is done over a low flame, and in about 45 to 50 minutes, the risotto should be ready. It should be creamy, homogeneous, but on no account reduced to porridge. One must be able to taste each grain of rice although it is not separated as in pilau. Grated Parmesan cheese is served with it, and sometimes stirred in before bringing the risotto to the table. In any case a risotto must be eaten immediately it is ready, and cannot be kept warm in the oven, steamed over a pan of boiling water, or otherwise kept waiting. Enough for four.’

Polka pasta bowl; Polka dinner plate; Gala napkin; Burlo 24 piece cutlery set; Stirling grey table runner; Vienna red wine glass; Gibraltar tumbler; Ambika platter; Acacia grinder. Photography (Habitat dinnerware): Patrick Quayle.

Elizabeth David on Vegetables is a compilation of the late culinary legend’s recipes, published in 2013 to mark the centenary year of her birth. The intelligent, passionate and unpretentious books she wrote between the 50s and the 80s introduced a new way of cooking to the UK and were a huge influence on the Habitat lifestyle.

They were always more than lists of ingredients, though, as this volume’s editor, Jill Norman, says: ‘Elizabeth’s writing shows a self-effacing authority and respect for authenticity and tradition; food is put into context, and she quotes widely from literature, history and travel writing. Her style is elegant, she writes with clarity and imaginative boldness, with fire and bite and a caustic wit when the topic demands. She draws the reader in, making her or him want to cook, even if the instructions are sometimes sketchy. She expects the reader to think for themselves and not rely blindly on a recipe book.’

Elizabeth David on Vegetables by Elizabeth David, published by Quadrille (£20). Book photography: Kristin Perers

For more inspiring recipes and style ideas, click below…

Scroll To Top