Mushroom Risotto

I've been craving risotto lately.  I typically don't think of making mushroom risotto in the Summer.  I am more likely to serve mushroom risotto in the Fall and pea or asparagus risotto in the Spring.  Oh well, I am going to break the rules and enjoy this Italy 'primo piatti' (first course) today! 

For those who are new to risotto, it is an Italian rice dish.  It is made from a higher starch, short to medium grain rice (e.g Arborio, Baldo, and Carnaroli).  In the US, you'll find Arborio rice in most supermarkets.  Some helpful hints when making risotto: make sure you start with a great tasting stock or wine and make sure the liquid is hot when adding it to the rice.  For this recipe, I made vegetable broth from scratch (*adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe), which is super easy and tastes better than store varieties. 

 

Vegetable Stock -makes 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 organic celery stalks, cleaned, cut in thirds
  • 2-3 organic carrots, scrubbed not peeled, cut in thirds
  • 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 chives
  • 1/2 mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 8 basil leaves, fresh from garden
  • 4-6 sprigs of thyme, fresh from garden
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, fresh from garden
  • 1/4 teaspoon of peppercorns ( I used pink, but can substitute with black) 
  • 1-2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 

Directions

    1) In a medium stockpot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions until tender and they begin to caramelize. Add the rest of the vegetables, salt and pepper; cook about 10 minutes.
    2) Add water and herbs; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 1 hour. 
    3) Pour stock through strainer into a large bowl.  Press liquid out of veggies.  May have to repeat pouring stock through a fine mesh sieve to remove all herbs and peppercorns.  Place bowl in ice bath to allow oils to solidify.  Remove solids. Refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze 3 months.
     

Mushroom Risotto serves 6 (1/2 cup servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin) 
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup Portabella mushrooms, finely diced
  • Kosher Salt & Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • Parmigiana Reggiano cheese- rind (optional) and freshly grated (1/4-1/2 cup)
  • Fresh basil or rosemary

Directions

    1) In small sauce pan over medium-high heat, saute onions and mushrooms in 1 tablespoon each oil olive and butter until tender/browning (about 3-4 minutes) .
    2) In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter.  Add rice, stirring about 2 minutes.  Add onion/mushrooms to the rice. 
    3) Add 1 ladle (about 1/2cup) of hot stock to rice.  Continue stirring until liquid is absorbed.  Repeat this step until rice is al dente.  After adding about 2 cups of liquid, add cheese rind for extra flavor.  Remove prior to serving. *Rely on you taste to check for doneness. You may have to add or reduce the amount of liquid by 1/2 cup.  
    4) When rice is tender, turn off the heat and finish risotto with 1-2 pats of butter, add cheese and your choice of herbs.  Transfer to serving dish and top with an additional sprinkle of cheese.