Storified by Arya McLean· Sun, Mar 24 2013 21:56:46
Black garlic is a type of fermented garlic with a sweet and savory flavor used as an ingredient in Asian cuisine. In this recipe, black garlic together with fresh mushrooms is used to flavor risotto, a rich and creamy Italian rice dish. The molasses-like richness and complex flavor of black garlic makes the risotto an unforgettable experience.
Black garlic also has a wonderful soft texture that is like jelly and melts in the mouth like dried fruit. It is made by fermenting whole garlic bulbs at high temperatures, creating sweet and tangy black garlic with hits of tamarind and balsamic vinegar. This ingredient can be found in the Asian section of the supermarket. It is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, used in gourmet cooking and haute cuisine.
To make a tender and creamy risotto, you need to use rice especially meant for making risotto. Some of the popular kinds of rice used to make risotto include Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, Veneto, Arborio, and Baldo. These are short-grained rice with high starch content that will not turn to mush in the creaming process. Cooking a good mushroom and black garlic risotto requires attention and patience; you can’t just leave the rice to cook like you would ordinarily do when cooking regular rice.
When adding stock to the risotto, the stock should be gently simmering. Adding cold stock can turn the rice gluey because it lowers the temperature as it cooks. Add stock one a ladleful at a time, allowing the rice to absorb it carefully. This will release the starch and make the risotto nice and creamy. The raw rice has to be cooked in butter and oil until they turn glassy and the outer starch layer of the rice is softened. Use a cast-iron enameled pot or earthenware, which are designed for long and slow cooking times.