Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mushroom-Parsley-Thyme Risotto

Ok, so I hadn't planned on posting this, because I figured, "hey, it's hard to mess up risotto," but during dinner last night Bozzie told me this was special risotto and Iain said it was the best risotto he'd ever had. Take those comments with a grain of salt, if you will, but they were enough to get me to write up the recipe. However, since I wasn't planning on posting, I only have a picture of the finished product. Oh well.

Just as a note, risotto is a simple enough process, but it does involve a lot of hands-on cooking, so if you're having an evening where you need food you can stick on the stove and leave alone for awhile, don't make this. That being said, it's some of the best comfort food in the world.

Mushroom-Parsley-Thyme Risotto
  • lots of mushrooms, sliced thinly. We used perhaps 1/2 a pound of baby chanterelles, but if you have other kinds or if you have wild mushrooms, so much the better. If you like, you can also rehydrate some dried mushrooms and use the mushroom water in addition to your broth.
  • a generous glug of lemon juice
  • a generous handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • about 6 TBS butter, plus 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (the kind used for risotto--you could try subbing another, cheaper kind but I don't think it'd work well).
  • a few glugs of a white wine (about 1/2 cup. we used a Three Buck Chuck chardonnay to great success.)
  • a generous pinch or two of dried thyme. I'm sure fresh would be lovely too, but we didn't have any.
  • Lots of broth/water (broth is better). You're gonna want to plan on at least 3 cups, but it could be closer to 4. It all depends on the rice. Lots of recipes recommend heating the broth before using it, but I didn't, so take your pick.
  • garlic powder to taste, probably a teaspoon or two.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese. Use at least a few TBS in the pot, and then add more to individual servings
  • Put the sliced mushrooms into a bowl with the lemon juice and toss a bit. Meanwhile, melt 2 TBS of the butter in a large pot. Cook the mushrooms over medium for a few minutes, until they release their liquids and brown somewhat. Stir in the parsley and half of the garlic and cook for a few seconds more--maybe a minute. Put the mushrooms et al. into a bowl and set aside.
  • Melt another 2 TBS butter, as well as the olive oil, in the same pot. Cook the onion and the rest of the garlic over medium until it's soft and golden, then add the rice. Stir it around for a couple minutes, frying it. Add the mushrooms and mix them all around. You can also add the thyme at this point; I added little pinches a couple times throughout the recipe process.
  • Pour in the wine. It'll smell awesome. Let it evaporate over medium heat.
  • This is the labor-intensive part. Add a small ladleful of the broth--maybe 1/4-1/3 cup. Then start stirring. You want to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, so it's necessary to stir a lot. Wait until the rice has absorbed the water, then add another ladleful. Continue to do this for awhile--probably at least 15 minutes. Then taste the rice to see how close it is to being soft. You can also start adding garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Depending on your rice, you might need from 20-40 minutes of overall broth adding/stirring time. I like my rice a tiny bit on the chewy side, so mine was done about on the 30 minute mark.
  • Once the rice is done and seasoned to your satisfaction, remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining butter (optional-- but it tastes better) and some parmesan.
  • Serve hot, topping with more cheese.

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