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I used to walk every day during the lunch break. After eating out of my tupper, in front of my computer screen, trying to avoid the boring discussions with colleagues in the cafeteria and the standard gossiping about each other’s lifes. I’d put on my coat, button it up carefully, brush my hair a bit, refresh my lipstick and walk out of the dark concrete building.

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I’d walk aimlessly by the river’s banks, staring at the fallen autumn leaves, at kids being forcefed by nanies and grammas, or surprisingly young mothers. Sometimes, I’d have a coffee sitting outside, enjoying the rare and much-welcomed rays of sun at an otherwise foggy November, almost purring like a cat. Almost.

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At the good days, I’d walk until the farmers’ market, at the town’s centre. Piles of vegetables and fruits, local cheese production, flowers. Sparrows flying allover, stealing cheese whenever they got the chance, at the rage of the sellers. Most of the times I’d just have a look, not buying anything I’d have to bring back to office. But every autumn, the fresh mushroom picked up from the region’s misty forests would win me over. Colours and textures. My favourite were the chanterelles, elegant golden wavy umbrellas. It was impossible to resist them. I’d hide them in the depths of my bag, along with pieces of notes, used tickets and old chewing gum.

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Home, I’d throw my clothes off on a pile, leave my keys on the messy kitchen table and cook in my pijamas. A big plate of warm comfort. On the sofa, watching the series I’d watch when I was young and unsuspicious of what was coming on me, covered with a cheap synthetic blanket. I’d have a second plate, no guilt involved. I was already chubby and unfit. Resignation. That’s what I felt on that couch. But the chanterelles made it all a bit better, gave it all a sense of glam and contentment. Until the plate was empty.

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Chanterelles Sausage Risotto

serves 4-6 mains

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 table spoons olive oil & 1 table spoon butter
  • 2 cups chanterelles mushroom
  • 1 cup sausage, sliced (I used Spanish Vela Iberica Salchichon)
  • 2 cups brown rice & 1 cup risotto rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grana padano (or parmesan)
  • 2 tea spoons sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 tea spoons dried rosemary
  • freshly trimmed pepper

1. In a pan, on medium heat, add your sausage, without any oil or butter. Cook it stirring so that the excess fat comes out. After about five minutes, remove it with a slotted spoon and put in a plate. Let aside.

2. Add the mushroom in the pan with the sausage fat. If you sausage wasn’t too fat, add a splash of olive oil. Cook the chanterelles stirring gently, for 1-2 minutes, until they have barely softened. We don’t want to cook them, otherwise they will be not hold their texture in the risotto. Remove from the pan and set aside in a plate.

3. In a pot, on medium heat, add butter and olive oil. Add garlic and onion, and cook until soft, stirring. When onion is soft, add the rice and stir well, for about 2 mins. Add the chicken stock, one cup at a time, once the rice has absorved the previous cup. Add salt, rosemary, pepper. I added in total 4 cups of chicken stock, but you may need less or more, depending on the rice you are using. The rice should be cooked but a bit al dente, it should take about 25-30 mins.

4. Once the rice is ready, add the mushroom, the sausage and the cheese and stir gently. Remove from the heat  and serve immediately. Don’t forget to bring extra cheese & the pepper mill to the table (or the couch). Confort autumn food, perfect for foggy Novembers, lonely nights and shocking election results.

Notes: I used brown rice & risotto rice for a creamier result. If you do so too, check the rice cooking times: normally brown rice takes more time to cook, so you may need to add the risotto rice later on, to avoid an overboiled rice mix. The point of this risotto is that the mushrooms  hold their shape and texture, so resist the temptation to cook them through in the pan: the warmth of the rice will do so fine.

If you’d like to try a boozier, vegetarian option try this Mushroom & Moscato risotto 😉 Enjoy!

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