Italian Basics: Mushroom Risotto
Mom is gone – she was visiting me for the last few weeks and as you can tell I had some amazing Indian recipes to share with you (like this, this and this). I learned a lot and was incredibly inspired to dive deeper into my culture and it’s cuisine. But now she’s gone and I have cook all by myself again. I know – I got spoiled. 🙂 Anyhow, now that it’s back to just me I needed a little break from making full blown meals. So what do I do – I get back to the basics. This is a dish that I love making when I need some effortless cooking that also soothes me.
Risotto is a common way to prepare rice in Italy. There are a lot of different ingredients you can use to create different types of risottos (seafood, meat, different types of vegetables) but they all consist of rice (typically short grain starchy rice) cooked into a creamy mixture using broth.
Although this dish can be pretty easy to make, there is one critical step (Step 5 below). When adding the broth you must stir the mixture almost constantly. The reason to do this is that stirring loosens the starch from the outside of the rice into the broth. This creates the smooth creamy texture that defines a risotto dish. And for a little added fun – don’t forget that according to Italian folklore stirring the dish clockwise brings you good luck! The more you stir the more luck you bring! 😀
Makes: 4 servings
Ready in: 35 minutes
- 1 packet mushroom (I think about 250 grams)
- 3/4 cup arborio rice (or any short grain rice)
- 1 small onion
- 1 tablespoon butter or extra virgin olive oil
- About 2 cups of vegetable broth (or some combination of broth and water)
- Parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Chop up the onion into a small dice.
2. Heat the butter / oil over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the onions. Cook for a few minutes stirring periodically. Meanwhile slice the mushrooms and add them to the pot. Cook the mixture, stirring periodically, till the onions are translucent and the mushrooms turn into a nice light brown color.
3. Rinse the rice. Add to the pot and stir periodically for a minute or two. You want the rice to be coated with the butter and start getting translucent.
4. Turn up the heat to medium high. Add a pinch of salt and cover the rice with vegetable stock. (You don’t have to use the entire 2 cups at this point – just enough to cover the rice completely.)
5. Keep stirring the rice almost constantly until the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked (it’s al-dente – aka – not hard but at the same time not mushy). Add more stock / water if you need to. The risotto should be a nice creamy rice mixture. Serve seasoned with fresh ground black pepper, salt and parmesan cheese.