Crème Fraîche is one of the classics that I teach in my private cheese making workshops. It is a simple cultured cream that has a silky texture; lighter than sour cream and more velvety than cream. Because of this, there are endless ways to use this golden cream. Crème Fraîche used to be made by simply placing a jar of raw cream on the kitchen counter overnight. The ambient cultures in the environment would naturally culture and ferment the cream. I work most frequently with pasteurized cream, which means that I add a couple tablespoons of cultured buttermilk to room temperature cream, mix thoroughly, and then let it sit. After 24 hours, it is recommended to place the crème fraîche in the refrigerator for another day to let it thicken completely.
Here is a wintry risotto that can be made for a quick dinner or lunch. With the addition of crème fraîche toward the end of cooking, the risotto becomes more nuanced in flavor, and overall has a heightened, rich body and mouth feel.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
- 1 cup Arborio Rice
- 1 tbsp. minced Rosemary
- 2 Portobello Mushrooms
- 3 cups low-sodium Chicken Broth
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 3 Shallots, minced (about b cup)
- 1 cup dry White Wine or Vermouth
- 2 tbsp. Creme Fraiche
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat the broth over medium heat until simmering, then lower the heat to low. Keep the broth hot but not bubbling for the rest of prep.
Twist the stalks off the mushroom caps, rinse, and place in simmering broth. The stalks are generally too fibrous when cooked to eat enjoyably, but add a rich earthiness to the broth. Use a spoon to scrape the gills in the caps out. Rinse and cube the mushroom caps.
Melt the butter in a deep pan, then add the shallots. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cubed mushroom caps, and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir, coating the grains with the melted butter, and saute over medium heat until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and let it reduce over medium-low heat, about 2 minutes.
Add one ladle of broth and the rosemary and stir. Allow the rice to cook uncovered, at a simmer. When the broth has been almost entirely soaked up by the rice, add another ladle. Continue this cycle until the rice is cooked al dente. This will take about 20 minutes, and you might have leftover broth. Stir crème fraîche into risotto, mixing until fully incorporated. Serve immediately, garnished with rosemary and another dollop of crème fraîche, if desired.