Mushroom Risotto

picture150 (2)

This recipe ranks very high on my list of all-time favorite comfort foods.  Mushroom Risotto is a savory, slow recipe with lots of slicing and stirring, but is otherwise easy to prepare.  The fact that each serving is chock full of vitamins and minerals is an added bonus.  My suggestion?  Uncork a bottle of wine and meander through this recipe with a friend or significant other.  Cooking comfort food together is a great way to stay connected!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

3 cloves finely chopped garlic

picture1401 1/2 cups sliced crimini, baby bella, or white button mushrooms (your choice)

1 cup sliced shiitaki mushrooms

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

4 cups water

~~~

1 cup Arborio “risotto” rice (do not substitute another variety of rice)

1 cup sliced fresh green beans (or, substitute asparagus)

1 cup chopped fresh tomato

1 cup shredded muenster cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan.  Remove from heat, add dried porcini mushrooms, cover saucepan, and let sit for 5 minutes.  Then, use a slotted spoon to remove porcini mushrooms from the pot.  Slice the porcini mushrooms and set aside.  Return the pot of mushroom-infused water to a low simmer… we will use it as broth in a few minutes!

picture142Add olive oil, onions, and garlic to a large sauté pan.  Over low heat, sauté five minutes, until onions are partially translucent.  Add all of the mushrooms, and sauté five more minutes.

picture146Add Arborio rice.  Stir gently for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture feels quite dry.  This “toasts” the rice and helps to give risotto its distinct texture.

Add 1 cup of mushroom broth to the pan and stir until it is absorbed (maybe 2 minutes or so).  Add another 1 cup of mushroom broth and the beans to the pan.  Stir until the liquid is absorbed a second time.  It will take a bit longer, maybe 5 minutes.

picture147 Do you see the trend?  For the third time, add another 1 cup of mushroom broth to the pan.  Also add the tomatoes.  Continue stirring until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.  Each time takes a bit longer.  This addition may require 5 to 7 minutes to absorb.  Don’t forget to continue stirring, so the rice doesn’t stick!

picture149When the liquid is almost completely absorbed, taste a few grains of rice.  If they are crunchy, you may need to add a bit more water (1/2 cup, this time).  Be careful not to add too much liquid or the rice will get mushy!  Think “al dente,” like pasta.  When your rice feels “al dente,” it’s done.

Remove from heat and gently stir in the cheese.  You can easily make this a vegan dish by eliminating the cheese, but I’ll be honest, without the melty muenster and parmesan, I don’t enjoy this dish quite as much.

Feel free to season with any combination of salt, pepper, or lemon zest.  Enjoy!

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