Mushroom Risotto

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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!


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


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!

Mushroom Potato Soup


I adore the flavors and textures of many different mushroom soups.  Unfortunately, many mushroom soup recipes contain an astonishing amount of animal fat in the form of cream, lard, and/or large quantities of butter.   I’ll be honest – it took a while to create a heart healthy mushroom soup which still offered the velvety texture and depth of flavor I desired.  But this… THIS is the recipe that captured what I wanted, while saying au revoir to most of that fat!

A word of advice:  Don’t skimp on the beef broth.  Use the best beef broth you can get your hands on, such as the beef broth from our Soupe à l’oignon recipe, here.  Trust me on this.  Alternately, if you prefer not to include meat products in your cooking, you can easily convert this into a vegetarian recipe.  Instead of beef broth, use a vegetable juice such as “v8.”  Vegetable broth is too thin, both in viscosity and flavor, for this recipe.

Ingredients (makes about 8 cups)

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

4 cups water

1 cup excellent quality beef broth

2 peeled, cubed potatoes

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons butter

1 cup sliced shiitaki mushrooms

2 cups sliced button mushrooms

2 small carrots sliced into coins

1 rib of celery, chopped

1 cup chopped kale

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup slightly undercooked brown rice

2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce


picture423Step 1) Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Remove from heat.  Add dried porcinis, cover, and soak for 15 minutes.  Then, remove porcinis with a slotted spoon… leave the liquid in the pot!  Chop the porcinis into bite size pieces and set them aside.

Step 2) To the pot of liquid, add beef stock and peeled, cubed potatoes.  Cook until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.  Puree with an immersion blender.

Step 3) While the potatoes are cooking, sauté 1/4 cup chopped onion in 2 teaspoons of butter.

picture425Step 4) To the pot of broth and pureed potatoes, add sautéed onions, skiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, carrot, celery, kale, pepper, and undercooked brown rice.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Step 5) Stir in chopped porcinis and worchestershire sauce.  Enjoy!