Crème fraîche is one of the classics: 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.
If you'd like to make your own crème fraîche, you can check out our Free French Cheesemaking Course online!
Crème Fraîche Mushroom Risotto Recipe
Here is a wintry risotto that can be made for a quick dinner or lunch. With the addition ofcrème fraîchetoward the end of cooking, the risotto becomes more nuanced in flavor, and overall has a heightened, rich body and mouth feel.
1 cup Arborio rice
1 tbsp minced rosemary
2 portobello mushrooms
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 shallots, minced
1 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 tbsp crème fraîche
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. 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 wine and let it reduce over medium-low heat, about 2 minutes.
Add the rice and stir, coating the grains with the melted butter, and saute over medium heat until opaque, 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, about 20 minutes.
Stir crème fraîche into risotto, mixing until fully incorporated.
Serve immediately, garnished with rosemary and another dollop of crème fraîche, if desired.