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I absolutely, positively love risotto. I love any type of risotto. Plain risotto made with chicken broth and a little onion and butter or the fancy kind like in

this recipe. For the longest time I was intimidated to make it because it can be complicated. But – I have finally perfected making it and we eat it as often as I have the time to cook it! Now, many of the recipes that I post on this blog are quick and easy foods that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. That is not the case with this meal. I usually allow for about an hour of total prep and cooking time. And let me tell you – it is worth every single minute. Also, when cooking risotto, make sure you that can give it your undivided attention. This is not one of the dishes where you can start it and walk away. You must stay close by, especially during the stirring portion which takes 30 minutes. I really hope I haven’t discouraged you from trying this recipe! It is so delicious! And – you can find every single ingredient at your local wal-mart. Yes, even the dried porcini mushrooms. I use the earth balance vegan butter so that my husband can eat it. He can’t eat dairy but he can tolerate goat’s milk/cheese. I leave out the goat cheese for my little guy as he is highly allergic to all types of animal milk/dairy.

I found this recipe in the Italian Food and Wine Quick From Scratch cookbook. I honestly didn’t change much of anything from their recipe. But, I have included a LOT more details in the instructions. If you are a seasoned cook, I hope you thoroughly enjoy this recipe. If you’re nervous, just take your time and if your first batch doesn’t turn out well then try it again! My first couple of tries with risotto weren’t terrible but it was definitely edible. It takes time to figure out the right texture that you want. The creaminess along with the flavors are amazing!

 

Ingredients


1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms

3 cups of boiling water, more if you need it

4 cups of chicken broth, more if needed

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, chopped

5 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

2 cups of arborio rice

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, more to taste if needed

2 tablespoons of butter (I use vegan butter)

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

2 ounces of soft goat cheese plus 1/2 ounce for garnish

 

 

Instructions

For the porcini mushrooms, I actually found these at Wal-Mart, over the by the fresh spices. And they weren’t really expensive! I can’t remember exactly how much they were or I would share it. I think they were around $4 for the bag.

 

Put the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. You may need more than 3 cups, but 3 is what I used. Let them soak for about 20 minutes.

 

While they are rehydrating, go ahead and chop up your onion and finely chop the garlic.

 

When the mushrooms are tender, line a strainer/sieve with paper towel. Make sure you save that good liquid from the mushrooms! You will need it later.

 

Try to squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the mushrooms. Then put them on your cutting board and chop them into small pieces.

 

Take the liquid from the mushrooms and put it into a medium saucepan. Add the chicken broth and bring it to a simmer (bubbling a little but not boiling)

 

In a large pot, heat your oil over medium low heat. Add the onion and the garlic and cook for about 7-8 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Make sure you do NOT brown the garlic. When you cook garlic, you just want it to cook through to release the fragrance and soften it a bit. Cooking it until it’s brown makes it very bitter and can ruin a dish. In fact, it should still be white when your onion is translucent because you’re cooking with lower heat.

 

For the arborio rice – this is what you’re looking for at the grocery store. It is a little pricey but one bin like this makes about 5-6 risotto dishes.

 

Add the rice, the chopped mushrooms, and the salt and stir for about 2 minutes or until the rice turns an opaque color. I know it’s hard to see the color of the rice in my picture, the steam from the pot got in my way.

 

Okay. Here is where it gets serious. Put your phone down, resist the urge to check facebook while you’re stirring and focus on stirring!  Take about 1/2 cup of the liquid that should be simmering nearby. Add it to the risotto and stir it constantly until the liquid has been absorbed.

 

Once the liquid has been absorbed, take another half cup and add it to the pot and stir constantly. Keep stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed. Then, add another 1/2 cup and stir it constantly. Keep stirring it until most of the liquid is absorbed. Are you detecting a pattern to this? Keep repeating those steps until your risotto is tender. Now, if you run out of liquid, this is where the extra chicken broth comes in. If you are getting low on the mushroom liquid and you’re a ways away from tender risotto then go ahead and add some broth to the pan so it can be heating up. One of the keys to making a good risotto is the liquid you add must be hot, it helps the risotto maintain it’s temperature while it cooks. After about 30 minutes, taste your risotto to see if it is tender. Now, the texture should be a little al dente and have a little texture to it. You don’t want it to be super soft but you don’t want it to be crunchy either. You may not end up using all of the mushroom liquid or as I mentioned before, you may need some of the chicken broth. I’ll be honest – it turns out a little differently for me each time.

 

Once you reach the point where your risotto is tender, stir in the goat cheese and butter.

Last, I like to top mine off with some crumbled, soft goat cheese. If you can tolerate dairy, feel free to use shredded Parmesan.

 

 

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