Now that it’s starting to get cooler, it is wonderful to be able to cook those comfort meals again. Mind you, today was 28 degrees! However when you live in Brisbane that is cooler.  Thanks to the influence of my Sicilian husbands relatives, I was introduced to Borlotti beans many years ago. In Melbourne they are available for long periods and at a very reasonable price. In Brisbane you have to find an Italian or Greek grocer and they are double the price but it’s still worth the effort to have fresh Borlotti. They are the most wonderful colour when they come out of the bright pink bean pod. In the recipe, I have used the canned version which you can find in big supermarkets near the chickpeas.

I am not sure how Risotto was given the reputation that it was hard to make. I find it an easy solution for a week day meal. I hope you enjoy making this recipe.


  • A one-ounce packet dried porcini (25 g, about a packed half cup)
  • 1/2 of a small onion, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, or: 3 tablespoons olive oil + 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) risotto rice, for example Arborio or Vialone Nano
  • The water the mushrooms were soaked in, strained, and 1 litre of beef stock
  • 1 can of borlotti beans 400g
  • 1 cup (50 g) frehsly grated Pecorino reserve some for garnish
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic diced
  • A bunch of parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Preparation:
 Steep the porcini in a cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the onion finely and dice the garlic and sauté it in either three tablespoons of oil or 1/4 cup of butter. When it’s lightly browned remove it to a plate with a slotted spoon and stir the rice into the drippings in the pot. Sauté the rice for several minutes, until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly lest it stick and burn.

Return the onions to the pot, stir in the stock, and continue stirring until it has evaporated completely. Then stir in a another ladle of stock and while it’s absorbing, chop the mushrooms and strain the liquid they soaked in, which can contain sand. Add the mushrooms and their liquid to the rice, then continue adding stock  a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally. About five minutes before the rice is done, add the can of borlotti beans, check seasoning. As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the remaining butter, half the cheese,  a little bit of ground pepper, the parsley, and cover the risotto for two minutes. Serve with the remaining grated cheese.









By the way I am featured in the Black Pearl Epicure Newsletter if you are interested here is the link.


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