Unlike the majority of mushrooms, which are in season in late summer and autumn, St George’s mushrooms (Calocybe Gambosa) can be found between April and June. As always when identifying mushrooms please ask an expert and check with a mushroom manual that what you are picking is safe to eat. St George’s mushrooms are off-white to tan, with crowded gills and a white spore print. They should not discolour.
They taste similar to blewits (Lepista Nuda) and they are great in risotto. This recipe is great for Meatless Monday or for inspiration during National Vegetarian Week.
For 2 people
150 gr short grain rice (eg, Arborio)
75 gr fresh St George’s mushrooms, roughly chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ litre hot water or vegetable stock
1 pinch of salt and pepper
1 sprig of thyme
1 fresh chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the pesto:
50 gr wild rocket
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch salt
a few drops of lemon juice
Cook the chopped onion in a saucepan with the olive oil on a medium heat for 3 minutes, then add the chopped mushrooms and the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the rice and toast it for about a minute. Add a ladleful of the liquid (water or vegetable stock), the thyme, chilli and seasoning.
The rice will cook in 20 minutes stirring regularly and adding more liquid by the ladle when the rice starts becoming dry.
While you cook the rice, prepare the pesto: in a blender blitz together all the ingredients until you get a smooth consistency. Taste it for seasoning.
When the risotto is ready, serve with swirls of wild rocket pesto.
All picture credits: Paola Bassanese, Energya Ltd.
Recommended Reading: The Foraging Home Cook