Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mushroom Risotto

Again, I haven't forgotten the blog, just not cooking anything new.  If my staycation ever starts, I'll have loads of time to cook and be creative.  Among other things, I'm going to debone that turkey in my chest freezer, because that freezer really needs to be defrosted and I have nowhere to keep the turkey for two days while that's going on.

Meanwhile, I had a little arborio in the pantry and decided to try something like this recipe from Giada. I'm not a big fan of mushrooms.  This sounded good enough to manage.  And then I saw pretty much the same thing available as a frozen dinner, but decided to make it from scratch anyway.  Less salt, for one thing.  I have been eating drive-thru a lot again and need to cut back.

My version is heavier on the veggies than Giada's, mainly because I cut out using the dried mushrooms.  I also left them in slices instead of mincing.  They're going to turn the rice a muddy color either way, so it's better if the diner can see that it's from mushrooms and not some crazy ingredient you forgot to mention.

The wine in risotto isn't 100% necessary and you can substitute more broth for it, but it will bring up more flavors than not using it.  Same with the chicken stock versus vegetable.  If you're not making this for vegetarians/vegans, go for the subtleties of chicken stock.

1 qt (4 cups) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
*3/4 C arborio rice
2 Tb butter (olive oil for vegan)
*1 C diced onion
*2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C white wine (optional)
1/2 C frozen peas, thawed
salt and pepper to taste
*1/4 C grated parmesan (omit for vegan)

1.  Heat broth in a small saucepan and keep at a simmer.

2.  In a larger saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and mushrooms.  Continue to cook until the mushrooms stop giving up water and mixture starts to dry out, up to 10 minutes.

3.  Add rice and cook until lightly glazed, only a couple of minutes.  Add wine and let rice absorb, cooking out the alcohol.  Keep stirring so the rice doesn't scorch or stick to the bottom.

4.  Start adding the broth one ladle at a time.  Stir into rice and let each addition absorb for several minutes before adding more.  Don't drown the rice.  This is going to take at least half an hour, and you have to stir almost constantly to keep the texture creamy.  Risotto doesn't take any longer than brown rice, it just feels like it because it's all active time.  If you run out of broth and the rice doesn't seem cooked enough, add water.  Stir in peas and let everything come up to temperature.

5.  Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  (This is why you used the low-sodium broth.)  Portion into bowls or one large serving bowl and top with the parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

Serves 3-4 as a main dish, 4-6 as a side

Difficulty rating  :)

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