Oh Holy Risotto My Face! …with Mushrooms.

OH EM GEE. YES. DOUBLE YES. If you want to impress anyone at all, you can make this risotto. It’s a riff (but not too far) from Lidia‘s (the woman that taught me all I know about Italian cooking)…and it is about simple ingredients and the right technique. At least that is what this risotto is all about. If you master the technique, you will thrill all who tastes.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms

2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

1 cup white onion, minced

2 tablespoons shallots, minced

2 cups arborio rice

½ cup white wine, dry (don’t use cooking wine, get a Sauvignon Blanc that is cheap or use some turned wine leftover from last week’s party)

6 cups chicken stock (I use Vegetarian Better Than Bouillion No Chicken Base)

Pinch of Kosher salt or to taste

2 teaspoons unsalted butter (Alternatel I use Original Earth Balance to cut down the dairy)

½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (God knows I can’t do without this ingredient), put a bowl on the table for people to add to taste

freshly ground black pepper

I use organic ingredients whenever possible, I find the flavors can be more pure and I also like to support organic farming. (Yes, it’s that kind of blog.)

This risotto will turn our so very creamy and delicious if you have patience and dilligently stir – people will think there is cream in it. The tools I use for this recipe are my 6 3/4 Le Creuset pot for this recipe (basically, because I try to copy anything Lidia does) and my trusty bamboo stirring spoon. The first step is to heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and shallots until golden. Then I add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to tender. I then add the rice and stir to coat it with oil.  In a separate pot, I have prepared the no-chicken broth. I pour the wine in with the rice and stir well, making sure not rice or onions are sticking to the bottom of the pot. Usually medium heat is best. This is when the stirring technique that will ultimately make your risotto creamy comes in –  add 1/2 cup of the hot chicken stock and your pinch of salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the liquid has been absorbed. It is imperative that this first 1/2 cup is completely absorbed before you move on, continue to add a cup or so of stock, just enough to cover the rice and stir constantly until each batch of broth is absorbed. Stir constantly until you have added all the broth and the rice has turned into risotto – it should be al dente. Turn off the heat, stir in the butter and cheese, season with pepper. I serve immediately, even though the leftovers are delicious, there is nothing like that first taste of just ready risotto.

For a party I prep the other dishes before and make sure the ingredients for the risotto are ready then prepare the risotto as I’m drinking wine with my guests and chatting in the kitchen. This can be served as the appetizer course, then this salad, finish off with a roast chicken/field roast.

Wine pairing: Pinot Gris or tart California Rose. A light Pinot Noir can also go nicely with the mushrooms and the rest of the meal.


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