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Sunday, November 2, 2008's cold outside: Eat Risotto

I know we've gone through this before together - risotto; my idea of a perfect food for chilly fall weather. But the thing is that it's no different than pasta; a perfect carrier for nearly anything! How can you go wrong? Other than slaving over the stove for about 30 minutes (well not literally) it is so easy to do and if your dish doesn't receive acclaim from the little ones (a.k.a.: the peanut gallery) then I'd really have to wonder whether you made it correctly! It is a grown up version of Goldilocks' porridge!

So be creative - the technique is nearly always the same - and simply stir until your pot full of rice is soft and creamy. Taste along the way - you'll know when it's done.

Risotto with Wild Mushrooms, Peas and Brie
1 cup Arborio rice
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1 small leek, washed well and sliced thin
1/2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
4 oz. fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 oz. reserved liquid from shiitake mushrooms
5 oz. brie cheese, rind removed and cut into 1" chunks
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil and pour in the 1/2 oz. of dried mushrooms. Remove pot from the heat and allow mushrooms to plump - about 20 minutes. Squeeze excess water from the mushrooms back into the pot and reserve 2 oz. of drained liquid. Slice the drained mushrooms thinly.

In another small saucepan, warm the broth over a low simmer.

In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and the leek and saute about 6 minutes over medium heat, until very soft. Add in the rice and stir often for about 2 minutes to coat well. Next add in both shiitake and the baby bella mushrooms and the rosemary and stir well. Add in the wine and allow it to fully absorb before adding in large ladlefuls of broth. Repeat process - allow liquid to fully absorb before adding in another spoonful. Be sure to continuously stir so the rice does not stick to the bottom. Repeat process about 25-30 minutes or until the risotto is nearly done. Add in the reserved liquid from the mushrooms and stir.

Mix in the brie and stir constantly so it totally melts and then add in the peas. Mix again. Next take the pot off of the heat and add in the Parmesan cheese and stir well.

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