Lovely and creamy and mushroomy and cheesy - this vegetarian risotto is proper comfort food.
Make the Vegetable Stock
A good stock is vital for a tasty risotto. You can, of course, buy ready-made stock, but home-made is better and it's easy to do. Top and tail the onion and cut it into 4 or 8 chunks. Leave the skin on. Chop the carrots and celery into big chunks. Place in a large pan with the water and bring to the boil. Add the herbs and peppercorns, put a lid on the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid off into another pan and boil vigorously to reduce it to 1 litre (2 pints).
Prep the Vegetables
Soak the porcini mushrooms in water for 30 minutes. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Wash the mushrooms and finely chop them.
Make the Risotto
Melt the butter in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add the mushrooms, cook for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the rice and get it all coated in the liquid. Add the wine, turn up the heat and keep stirring until it has all disappeared. Turn the heat down to medium again and add a ladleful of stock. Keep stirring until all the stock has been absorbed, then add another ladleful. Keep doing this until all the stock is used up.
The aim is for the rice to be perfectly cooked at the same time as the stock is used up - this takes 20 minutes. If you run out of stock before then, use hot water and better luck next time!
When the risotto is cooked, turn off the heat and stir in most of the grated cheese - save a bit for garnish.
Serve the Risotto
Sprinkle some grated cheese on the top, and some chopped fresh parsley.