I can vividly remember the first time I made risotto, and it was based on this very recipe. I was cooking a thank you dinner for my roommates, and I really wanted to reach into the very depths of my cooking ability to make an impressive dinner. Risotto sounded hard to make and always tasted incredible when I ordered it in restaurants, so that’s what I landed on. Not that I had doubted my abilities, but surprisingly it was every bit as tasty as I had hoped for. The only reason I had doubts in the first place was because I’d watched hours upon days of the Food Network and a couple too many seasons of Top Chef, and they’re always talking about how hard the perfect risotto is to make.
The perfect risotto MAY be very difficult to make, but a very, very good and supremely delicious risotto is surprisingly easy. Time consuming? Yes. Muscle-ache inducing? Absolutely. But absolutely within the realm of reasonable skill level.
Mushroom Risotto (adapted from Giada DeLaurentis’ recipe at the Food Network)
8 cups canned chicken stock (or chicken broth)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
10 ounces portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or white rice (I generally use regular white rice)
2/3 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
The original recipe also called for peas. I didn’t have any on hand, so I left them out.
Melt butter in a large sautee pan. Add olive oil and then onions and cook on medium low heat until translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms, simmer until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender.
Stir in rice and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. At this point, there will not be much liquid in the saute pan. This is important because it allows the rice to toast and develop a deeper flavor. After 5 minutes have passed, add the wine and stir often until incorporated.
Add the chicken stock one cup at a time, continuing to stir often. Add the next cup of stock when the previous cup has been absorbed, which should take around 3 minutes each. To give you an idea of how much stirring “often” is, I pretty much don’t step away from the stove for more than a minute during this stage.
Continue to cook until the rice is creamy and tender, continuing to add stock by the cup until the rice is cooked through. It should take about a half an hour. That’s right, 30 minutes. Come minute 25 you’re probably going to be cursing me, this recipe and the rice to “freaking cook already”. It’s okay, I’ve been there. I won’t be offended. Also, I notice it makes my arm realllly tired.
Add the parmesan, salt and pepper, stirring well to incorporate. If you were to add in peas, you would add at this point in the recipe.
Although it can be the main course, I think this is a very nice side to serve with dinner. It is very rich and full flavored, so a little bit can go a long way. Don’t get me wrong, I never eat just a little bit. But other people could and be satisfied I’m sure.
Also, as a side note, this was the most golden risotto I’ve ever made, and the reason is the chicken stock I used. I got it at Trader Joe’s and would highly recommend.
Hope you enjoy!