Risotto is something that, if it's on the menu, I'm ordering it. I love it and I've been saying for a couple of years now that "this is the year I'm going to learn to make risotto." And now, like most times, I'm wondering what took me so long. It's really not difficult, just a little time consuming. So pour a glass of wine, prep your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal right at home.
You know me and my love of veggies. Add anything you want to this, though. Risotto is so versatile!
1/2 cup dried procini mushrooms
4 to 6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio or other short- or medium-grain rice
salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
1 cup sliced shiitake or portobello mushroom caps
freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Rinse the dried mushrooms one or twice, then soak them in hot water to cover. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with butter, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then the white wine. Stir and let the liquid bubble away. Drain the porcini and chop them, then stir them in, along with about half of their soaking liquid.
Use a ladle to begin adding the stock, 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring after each addition. When the stock is just about evaporated, add more. The mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. Stir frequently, keeping the heat at medium to medium-high. Meanwhile, put the remaining butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and almost crisp, about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Begin tasting the rice 20 minutes after you add it; you want it to be tender but still with a tiny bit of crunch; it could take as long as 30 minutes to reach this stage. When it does, stir in the cooked mushrooms, with their butter, and at least 1/2 cup of Parmesan if you're using it. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan at the table.
This is another recipe from my main man, Mark Bittman. This time, though, I used his awesome iPad app (oh, did I mention i got an iPad? love it. seriously. and this app is absolutely worth the $9.99 it costs. so if you, too, have an iPad, buy it. like now.) Ok, anyhoo... Mark is awesome and so are his apps, obviously.
I followed his recipe for the most part, but as you can tell from the recipe titles, I changed just a few things along the way. I didn't use the dried mushrooms, instead adding fresh asparagus along with the fresh (baby bella) mushrooms. I cooked them in the skillet along with the mushrooms - for about 10 minutes or until everything was tender.
I set out to halve the recipe, so guesstimated the amount of most of the ingredients. I ended up using just under a cup of rice and about 3 cups of chicken stock. I think the key to risotto is adding liquid as needed and stirring it often. I cooked it for 20 minutes and it was perfect. I bet I used 6 oz of mushrooms and 8 stalks of asparagus. And, let's be honest, who wouldn't add the Parmesan?
As with most things, add the ingredients that you like and chances are, you'll like it in the end. If not, tweak it next time... it's all about adventure!