Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

My husband and I watch a lot of food television. Top Chef, Iron Chef, Chopped, and Next Food Network Star, to name a few. One show we used to watch was Hell’s Kitchen. Eventually we stopped because it seemed like the talent of the competing chefs was pretty low. But one thing stuck with us: the sound of Gordon Ramsay yelling “BLOODY RISOTTO” in his Scottish accent. It was always a harrowing moment, with his face turning red and veins popping out of places I didn’t know veins existed, while the chef who had ruined the risotto cowered in fear of life and limb. Maybe that is why, although risotto has always been a favorite for me in restaurants, we had never attempted it at home. But hey, I’m not afraid of a challenge. And it’s not like Gordon Ramsay is going to find me and call me a plank (which is actually an insult he used on that show).

Making a risotto wasn’t as hard or scary as I expected, although it is somewhat time consuming. You have to constantly stir for about 20 minutes once things get started, so plan ahead. But the results were pretty good. I would say the only downside is that risotto is good as a side dish, not so much a whole meal on its own. But with so much time and energy invested in it, it’s hard to make an entrée to go with it. That said, it was very good. Probably could cut the amount of mushrooms in half, but it was definitely tasty. I found this recipe on How To: Simplify, and probably liked it because the author is just as afraid of Ramsay.

6 cups chicken broth
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sliced Portobello Mushrooms
1 pound sliced white mushrooms
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

I had a little trouble finding the Arborio rice, but finally found it on the top shelf at Kroger. It’s somewhat more expensive than regular rice, but it’ll probably last for four or five risottos. Start by chopping up your mushrooms. We kept them relatively large, but do as you will. Also put the chicken broth in a saucepan and heat. In a large deep skillet or pan over medium high heat, heat some olive oil and sauté the mushrooms 3-4 minutes until they are soft and then set them aside. Chop your shallots and add them with a little more oil to the pan. Cook for about a minute and then add the rice (uncooked). Stir the rice constantly until it starts to turn a pale golden color and then add in the wine. Keep stirring (this is a theme here) until the wine is absorbed. It won’t take very long.

Next, add a half cup of broth and stir until it’s fully absorbed. Repeat this step a half cup at a time, until the rice is al dente which should be around 20 minutes. You’ll notice that the rice takes the broth pretty quickly at first, and it slows down more and more as you go. Once the rice is at the point you want, remove it from the heat and add the butter and cheese. We added more cheese because…well, it’s cheese. Then stir back in the mushrooms and their juices. Season with salt and pepper, and serve! I think this recipe could be a good base for a lot of different kinds of risotto, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun with ingredients. This would be a nice side to serve to company. Just as long as it’s not Chef Ramsay. 

(Click here for printable recipe)

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