Beginning to feel a little like fall out there, huh? It’s dark now when I leave for work in the mornings, and I have to wear a sweatshirt over my scrubs. The other night I let Scout out to run in the backyard, and I even noticed that I could see my breath.
Welcome, my most favorite time of year. Glad to have you back.
To celebrate, I decided that I would try something that I had been meaning to since (gasp!) June when I sampled this in Colorado. For some reason, the hearty mushroom flavor and creamy Arborio rice combo seemed extremely intimidating to me. I had bookmarked so many of other food blogger’s recipes…hoping to one day try it for myself.
So, on a weekend evening when I knew that I would have no other distractions in the kitchen, I bravely pulled out this recipe and silently cheered a mantra: “Mushroom Risotto. You do not scare me.”
Here’s the good news: it was an amazing success. I think the thing that intimidated me the most was the amount of time to put into this recipe….and the amount of pots and pans. Holy cow. I ran a full dishwasher after this meal with just the prepping/cooking tools I used. The end product? Fabulously rich, creamy, full of earthy flavor, and great texture.
Happy Early Fall/Late Summer, everyone!
Servings: approximately 6
|2 bay leaves|
|6 sprigs fresh thyme|
|4 sprigs fresh parsley leaves|
|1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms , rinsed in mesh strainer under running water ***I ended up using a pre-packaged “Stir Fry” mix from my local grocery store (found it in the mushroom/vegetarian section. ) It was a mixture of unidentifiable dried mushrooms, but it was wonderful!|
|3 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock***The original recipe calls for chicken stock, but since I don’t eat chicken, I substituted the vegetarian version. It was still great!|
|2 teaspoons soy sauce|
|6 tablespoons unsalted butter|
|1 and a 1/4 pounds cremini mushrooms , wiped clean with a paper towel, stems discarded, and caps cut into fourths if small or sixths if medium or large***Cremini mushrooms are otherwise known as “baby portobellas”. I’m sure you could use button mushrooms in a pinch, but they probably do not hold as much flavor.|
|2 medium onions , chopped fine (2 cups)|
|Salt, to taste|
|3 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)|
|1 pound Arborio rice (2 1/8 cups)|
|1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth|
|2 ounces Parmesan cheese , finely grated (about 1 cup)***I substituted Romano because that’s all I had.|
|2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves|
|Ground black pepper|
- Tie together bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and parsley sprigs with kitchen twine. (Optional, but highly recommended. This just serves to make removing the herbs from the pot easier later.)
- Bring bundled herbs, dried mushrooms, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and 3 1/2 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce to medium-low and simmer until dried mushrooms are softened and fully hydrated, about 15 minutes.
- Remove and discard herb bundle and strain broth through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl (you should have about 6 1/2 cups strained liquid); return liquid to saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
- Finely mince the (now) rehydrated mushrooms and set aside. (But be careful, because they will be really hot.)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees.
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add cremini mushrooms, 1 cup onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms are well browned, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute, then transfer mushrooms to oven-safe bowl and keep warm in oven.
- Off heat, add 1/4 cup water to now-empty skillet and scrape with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits; pour liquid from skillet into saucepan with broth.
- Heat 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add remaining 1 cup onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and translucent, about 9 minutes.
- Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains’ edges are transparent, about 4 minutes (I actually cooked mine a little longer at this point).
- Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until rice absorbs wine. Add minced rehydrated mushrooms and 3 1/2 cups broth and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid is absorbed, 9 to 11 minutes.***Watch carefully because the rice will absorb the liquids very quickly.
- Stir in additional 1/2 cup broth every 2 to 3 minutes until rice is cooked through but grains are still somewhat firm at center, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, then stir in mushrooms (and any accumulated juices), Parmesan, and chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; serve immediately.
And, welcome to Heaven.
Barely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.