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Joe Swash’s mushroom risotto

With mushrooms, garlic and herbs, this tasty risotto is an ideal supper on chilly nights.

“I didn’t like mushrooms as a child and wouldn’t eat them,” says actor, TV presenter and now cookbook author Joe Swash, who developed a taste for them during his time on I’m a Celebrity… in 2008, thanks to fellow contestant Timmy Mallett.

“[He] was a vegetarian and he’d be given some wild mushrooms. He’d fry them up and I just had to try some – they smelled so good. I loved them and after that, poor old Timmy had to share his mushrooms with me every night. Now, one of my favourite things is a good mushroom risotto.”

Mushroom risotto


(Serves 4-6)

  • 1tbsp olive oil

  • 50g butter

  • 1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 leek, finely chopped

  • 300g mushrooms (white/button/cremini/chestnut), finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

  • 1 large sprig of thyme, leaves picked

  • 400g risotto rice

  • 100ml white wine or Vermouth

  • 1.5L chicken or mushroom stock

  • 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

  • Salt and black pepper

To garnish:

  • 15g butter

  • 250g mixed mushrooms, sliced if large

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped


1. Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the onion or shallot and the leek and cook very gently, stirring regularly, until soft and translucent.

2. Add the mushrooms to the pan. Turn up the heat and fry until they have given out their liquid and look dry but glossy. Add the garlic and thyme and stir for a couple more minutes.

3. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes until glossy with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine or Vermouth and let it bubble away until almost completely evaporated.

4. Add a large ladleful of the hot stock. Stir constantly but slowly until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, then continue to add ladlefuls of stock in the same way until the rice has plumped up and is al dente and the sauce around it is creamy. You may have a small amount of the stock left.

5. Add the remaining butter and the Parmesan and beat it into the risotto – this will make the risotto extra creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover and keep warm.

6. Place a frying pan over a high heat and add the butter. When it is foaming, add the mixed mushrooms and fry them very quickly until well browned. Add the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

7. Serve the risotto garnished with the mushrooms and more grated Parmesan for people to add at the table.

Joe’s Kitchen: Homemade Meals For A Happy Family by Joe Swash is published by Pavilion Books, priced £22. Photography by Dan Jones.


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