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Mushroom Risotto

Years ago I used to make risotto a lot. Now I have two children and I can’t usually stand in front of the stove for an hour to stir it. But, back in the day my pesto risotto was known for being pretty darn good. My dear friend Cara posted a comment on the green and white lasagna post referencing the risotto and talking about a mushroom risotto she had made. So, with nothing in mind for dinner and a fridge with a bounty of mushrooms I took on the case.

Risotto is delicious and also a pain in the ass. You have to do so much stirring! But in the end, it’s worth it and with the help of just a few tweaks it doesn’t have to be challenging at all. The one thing, as Cara mentioned, is that it can be bland if you don’t give it the right help. It is, after all, just rice. It may have a creamy al dente finish but without the right compliments it’s not going to taste like much.

With that in mind this recipe layers in flavor at every stage. First with the onion, then three different kinds of mushrooms, then thyme, toasting the risotto, white wine, mushrooms cooked with the rice, stock, and a dash of Parmesan cheese. There’s no way this dish isn’t going to have flavor. There’s also no way that this dish will not be hearty.

You’ll do the prep for this recipe and you’ll think I’ve lost my mind with all the mushrooms it calls for. But trust me. They cook down. A lot. In the end it will be a very mushroomy risotto, but it will be a rib sticking goodness and you’ll thank me for making you chop all those mushrooms!

Mushroom Risotto

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, diced
8 oz button mushrooms, diced
5 oz, shiitake mushrooms, diced
2 pinches kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup risotto
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups stock of your choice, warmed (I use chicken)*
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese*

In a heavy bottomed soup pot melt the butter and over a low heat slowly sweat the onions. When the onions are translucent add in the diced mushrooms. Add 2 pinches of salt and stir. Allow the mushrooms to cook down slowly over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Add in dried thyme and increase the heat to medium high. When the mushrooms have released their liquid and reduced in size remove them from the pan and set aside.

Add the olive oil and the risotto into the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the risotto to toast gently in the oil and turn slightly brown. When the risotto is toasted add back in the onions and mushrooms to the pan. Add in the white wine and stir to allow the liquid to cook down.

When the wine has cooked down and you can see the bottom of the pot ladle into the pot 1/2- 3/4 cup of warmed stock. Stir continuously in a folding style until all the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat these steps with the remaining liquid in 1/2- 3/4 cup increments.

When the risotto stops absorbing the liquid you know you are finished cooking it. At the very end stir in the cheese and turn the heat off. Plate and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a main dish with salad or serves 6 as a first course.

*Use vegetable broth and you’ve got a vegetarian meal. Omit the Parmesan cheese and it’s vegan too!