Mushroom Risotto with Crickets

50 minutes

4 servings

This Eataly inspired dish brings together the creaminess and comfort-food-feeling of one of the lesser well-known Italian dishes with the crispiness and nutritional powers of insects. If that's not a one-liner that makes you wanna try it, we don't know anymore.
Mushroom Risotto with Crickets
INGREDIENTS
  • 50 grams of crickets
  • 300 grams of (Arborio) rice
  • 250 ml of white wine
  • 750 ml of vegetable broth
  • 1 big white/yellow onion
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 400 grams of white/brown mushrooms
  • 200 grams of chanterelles (or another mushroom really)
  • 100 grams of parmesan cheese
  • 200 grams of frozen peas
  • Oregano, salt, pepper to taste
PREPARATION
  1. Finely chop garlic and the white/yellow onion and caramelize in a large pan/wok for 10 minutes
  2. In the meantime clean and chop the mushrooms and the spring onions
  3. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, fire up the heat and fry for 5 minutes
  4. Add the rice and fry for another 2-3 minutes to give the rice a toasted look-and-feel
  5. Pour in the wine and about half of the broth, and let the risotto simmer for 20-30 minutes
  6. Continuously add some broth if the liquid is gone, taste and season with oregano, salt and pepper
  7. Fry the crickets in a separate pan for 5 - 10 minutes
  8. With about 5 minutes to go, add the frozen peas and half of the spring onion to the risotto
  9. Does the risotto smell and look fabulous? Turn off the heat and throw in the parmesan while everything is hot so it melts and blends in
  10. Top the risotto with the crickets and some left-over spring onion and eat your heart out!

If someone mentions the Italian kitchen, everyone always immediately thinks of the most amazing foods such as pizza, pasta, gelato and tiramisu and last but not least: risotto! Apart from rice instead of pasta that is the main carb of this dish, this comfort food screams Italy too as it is cooked in wine and topped off with (loads of) cheese.

And even though Italians are not the biggest rice eaters, did you know that it is the country that produces the most rice in Europe? Especially Lombardy, in Northen Italy, can be considered the rice bowl of Europe.

Another good thing about risotto is the flexibility you get as a chef. The most basic risotto contains rice, broth, wine, onion and cheese. From that point on, you can let your creativity go wild and add anything you like - but don't go too wild and try to stay close to the authentic Italian recipe.

Did we say stay close to the authentic risotto? Pretty sure we failed when we added crickets to our recipe. Nevertheless, adding the crickets to risotto not only enhances the taste of the dish, but also adds crispiness to an otherwise mostly creamy dish. Apart from adding crickets, we decided to go for a mushroom risotto containing two types of mushroom.

Throw in some more of your favorite vegetables and this comfort food even becomes quite healthy! We for example like to add frozen peas, they only need to be added a couple of minutes before the end to be heated up and add more color and nutritional power to any risotto.

Tips and tricks:

  • The only truly important thing about risotto is that you don't prepare the rice in any way before adding it to the pan. Rinsing, boiling, draining or washing in whatever way removes starch from the rice that helps in giving it the creamy texture you're looking for in a risotto.
  • While many recipes fry mushrooms or vegetables separately and add them again later, we think that risotto is also one of those perfect one-pan recipes. Start with frying or sautéing the veggies, and then add the rice to the same pan and cook everything together to make all the flavours blend together.
  • There are two ways you can use insects in a risotto recipe. We like the crispiness that the crickets add to the dish and therefore fry them in a separate pan and add them add the end. Frying them at the beginning in the same pan and then boiling them together with the rice and veggies, makes them lose the crisp. Another option is to use cricket (or any other insect) flour/powder that is perfect to mix in together with the wine and broth. The liquid then turns into a cricket broth that you are cooking the risotto in.