Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mushroom Risotto

Sometimes I cook something, and I am astounded that it has taken me so long to make this. Ever since I was a sophomore in college, I have been planning to make mushroom risotto. I’ve even gone so far as to buy all the ingredients, and let me tell you, dried porcini mushrooms are not easy to find in Chicago. Instead, I would eat the mushrooms in a different dish, like spaghetti, or just abandon the whole pursuit allowing my precious  ingredients to go to waste. I don’t know why mushroom risotto became something I never make. Somehow whenever I decided to make risotto some newer, different risotto  dish would come along and distract me. But, six years later, prompted by a large quantity of mushroom stock sitting in the freezer from Thanksgiving, I managed to cook this dish. And it was magnificent!

This is no surprise. I love mushroom risotto, and I eat it even more now, since it has a higher likelihood of being vegan in an Italian restaurant than most other dishes. I didn’t really think I needed a recipe, being extensively familiar with the nuts and bolts of making risotto, but I perused my Williams Sonoma cookbook just in case I was neglecting some strange counterintuitive item that the respectability of my risotto depended upon. I wasn’t. In fact, their mushroom risotto was a sad, pale affair studded with a few teeny mushrooms. My risotto would clearly win in a fight. So don’t even bother looking at other recipes. This is as good as it gets.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups short grain brown rice
1 package white mushrooms sliced
1 package baby bella mushrooms sliced
1 oz. dried assorted mushrooms (I used porcini, crimini, oyster, chanterelle, shitake, and maitake)
1 1/2 cups red wine
4 cups mushroom stock (get the recipe here)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley chopped

In a large bowl, cover the dried mushrooms with 3 cups boiling water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Add the white and baby bella mushrooms to a large sauté pan. Cook on high until tender, abut 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and coat with oil. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the rice turns transparent except for a small white dot in the center. Add 1 cup of the red wine and cook until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Add the stock. I only had about 2 cups of mushroom stock which I augmented with the dried mushroom soaking liquid. You can also use vegetable stock if necessary. Because this is brown rice, I used my pressure cooker, simmering for 25 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, I would recommend using arborio rice, and add the liquid gradually stirring constantly. When the rice is tender, add the last 1/2 cup of wine, and stir until absorbed. Add the previously dried and the sautéed mushrooms to the rice. Add the parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with a small garnish of parsley.

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