Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

My summer obligations have completely overwhelmed me and unfortunately, blogging (one of the things I enjoy the most) has fallen by the wayside. I know I have missed out on tons of workout motivation, fantastic recipes, and numerous inspirational stories but finding any spare time right now seems impossible. I've been feeling pretty down trodden about all of this and realized it was high time for some comfort food. I didn't care that it was 85 degrees outside I had to make risotto! Creamy rice, salty cheese, and meaty's good for the soul. 

Since I have been kind of a downer in this post I want to share 3 things that I am REALLY excited about:

1. It is my 21st birthday this weekend
2.  Brad and I are getting backpacking gear for our birthdays (his b-day is in June too)
3. After this class is over I get to enjoy some serious vacation time for about a week and a half before my next class starts

I would love to hear something you guys are excited about so I can live vicariously through you until my class is finished. Please share, I think my sanity depends on it!

A lot of people are scared to make risotto which I completely understand. If you have ever seen Robert Irvine, Ann Burrell, or any one of the Chopped judges belittle someone for making it wrong it can be intimidating. Here's my opinion on the matter: sure, upscale Italian chefs may make it differently than me, certainly in smaller portions than I do, but few make it as deliciously or as cheaply as me. Risotto takes a little bit of patience and some tasting here and there but it is hard to ruin. It can really be summed up into two steps: Sauté, Add and Stir (okay, maybe that is closer to three steps).
Anyways, if you are one of the ones who is intimidated by this dish, don't be! You can do it.

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 white onion, chopped

1 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
32 oz vegetable stock
1.5 oz grated parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil

In a medium sauce pot warm your vegetable stock, do not let it boil just warm it up until it is a little steamy and too hot to touch

Step 1: Sauté
Sauté the mushrooms in 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Remove from the pot and set aside, cover them to keep them warm

In the same pot you sauteed the mushrooms sauté the onion and garlic in 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat
Once they are slightly golden brown and soft add the rice
Cook the rice for 4-5 minutes (stirring every once in awhile) until it is somewhat translucent and aromatic, it will smell slightly nutty

Step 2: Add and Stir
Add wine and stir
Once the wine is absorbed add 1/2 cup of the warmed stock to your rice
Stir until the stock has been absorbed (a wooden spoon is best for this job)

Add 1/4 cup of the warmed stock ( I have a ladle that is just about 1/4 cup so I use that instead of tediously measuring, it's not an exact science so it's okay to be a bit off)
Stir until the stock is absorbed 

Keep adding vegetable stock to the rice in 1/4 cup increments and stirring, you only want to add the next  1/4 cup of stock once the previous addition has been almost completely absorbed
Your rice will slowly (but surely) release its natural starches creating an incredibly creamy texture
Check your rice once you get to the last couple additions of the stock, if it is al dente (soft on the outside and a little firmer in the middle-just the slightest bite) it is perfect*
Add the mushrooms, parmesan, thyme, and basil and stir to combine
Serve in big bowls and let the comforting begin

*If your rice is not quite done and you don't have any stock left just warm some water and use that until your rice is creamy and just a little bit al dente, then proceed

Servings 4
Per Serving 305 calories

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