Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Risotto Who Loved Me

I don't know about most of you. But as for me, I am at times intimidated by "frou-frou" foods. I worry if I will master the technique. I worry that even if I master the technique, the family won't like the food. I worry that I will waste money on fancy-schmancy ingredients, for a let down.

In spite of my many reservations, I kept hearing a sensual whisper in my ear. "Risotto" Every time I turned on Food Network some one was making "Risotto". And each time I watched them stir the thick, creamy and steaming hot "Risotto", my mouth watered. I love rice. I love rice pudding. And "Risotto" looked like a hip, savory and oh-so-worldly cousin of rice pudding.

Today was the day that I faced my ambivalence. Today was the day that I became intimate with "Risotto".

To accompany our dinner of roasted chicken, glazed carrots and steamed brocoli, I made "Mushroom Risotto." Oh. My. Word.

This dish didn't just call my name. It called me "Baby".

Mushroom Risotto

Prep Time: About thirty minutes

2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 pound of mixed fresh mushrooms (I used portabellas,white,shitake,& oyster)
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Bay Leaf
1 lb. Arborio Rice (I used Bellino)
1/2 c. medium dry white wine (I used Mondavi Chardonnay)
2 Cartons Low Sodium Chicken Stock (not broth.. I used Swanson 26 oz.)
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
4 Tbsp. Butter (no substitutions!)
1/3 cup. shredded Parmesan Cheese (no substitutions! I used Frigo)


Pour all stock into a pot. Warm till just below the boil on a back burner of the stove. Keep at this temperature for the whole process.

In another large, heavy bottomed sauce pan warm oil until fragrant. Add half of the mushrooms finely chopped and cook until golden brown on edges. Add the minced shallots and garlic and bay leaf. Stirring, cook until vegetables are translucent.

Add all of the rice. Stir to coat every grain with oil. Cook for about three minutes. Stirring constantly.

Add white wine and stir until absorbed.

Add one cup of stock and stir until absorbed.(A ladle is very helpful) When all liquid has been absorbed, add more stock. Continue until the half of the stock has been used. Continue stirring.

Add remaining larger pieces of mushrooms with an addition of stock. Cook until liquid is absorbed. Continue until all of the stock has been used. Remember to stir attentively.

Once all of the liquid has been added and absorbed, turn off the heat. Taste for salt, add pepper to taste.

Stir in butter and cheese.

Remove bay leaf and serve.

*Recipe serves 9 normal people or a famished family of 5.

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