22 July, 2012

Mushroom Risotto

From time to time random people send me recipes.  Okay....really, it happens all of the time.  (I just spent last week testing 3 different recipes for the same thing; there was only one winner.)  Most of the time I am not sure where they came from originally or, after reading through them, if they even turn out well.  There IS a science to cooking and baking and some of the recipes people send just do NOT add up to "edible".  But, I'm not here to judge...I'm here to cook.  So keep on throwin' your recipes my way and we'll see what magic we can make in the kitchen!

Last night I felt brave, so I whipped out a random risotto recipe.  I've had risotto a bajillion times, some fabulous and some disgusting, but never really had the patience to mess with it with my 2.5 year old pulling at my legs.  I've seen enough episodes of Hell's Kitchen, Restaurant Nightmares and Masterchef to know you are NOT allowed to mess up a risotto.  I have this feeling...wherever you are in the world, if you mess it up, Gordon Ramsay WILL come find you and tell you how much of a "brilliant DIS-ASS-TER!!" your dish was as he furrows his brow in shame and glares at you.  This dish takes patience, technique and finesse...  Bring your "A game" if you are going to make this dish for someone else...and for Heaven sake...don't use substitutes for anything except perhaps the herbs!

Mushroom Risotto 
1 large shallot, finely chopped
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. portabella mushrooms, diced
10 oz. arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine
4 c. unsalted chicken stock
1 T. fresh basil, finely chopped
1 T. fresh chives, finely chopped
2 T. mascarpone cheese
3 T. freshly shredded parmesan cheese (NOT grated)
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 T. unsalted butter 

In a large saucepan sauté the shallots in the olive oil over medium-low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, then add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the mushrooms have softened.  

Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, stir and cook until absorbed. 

Pour in a quarter (1 cup) of the chicken broth, bring to a boil and cook until absorbed, stirring frequently.

Gradually stir in the rest of the broth over a period of about 15 minutes, adding 1 cup every 5 minutes or so, waiting until each previous amount is absorbed. This helps to give you a creamy, full bodied risotto.

When the rice is al dente, mix in the chopped herbs. Check the seasoning, you may feel like you want more herbs in.  Stir in the cheeses, the heat will melt them.  Finish by stirring in 1 T. of butter for shine; sea salt and pepper to taste and serve in with shaved aged parmesan curls or more shredded parmesan.

This was worth the time and effort and everyone, even the Sprout, loved it.  He took big spoonfuls and added a "Mmmm...." to his critique after each bite.  My Mister isn't in love with mushrooms and even he had to give it some "props"...and said he would eat it again.  

When I make this again I'll try beef stock with thyme, burgundy wine and gorgonzola cheese or turkey stock with sage, a sweeter white wine and shredded swiss...  There are a lot of possibilities, but you can't play TOO far outside of the parameters if you want this dish to work.  I hope you and your family enjoy this as much as we did and...above all, have fun!  

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