Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wild Mushroom and Pea Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods. It's so smooth and creamy! This one's a classic, mushrooms and peas. Making risotto is really just a method and once you have the method down, you can mix in anything you like that goes with rice...the possibilities are endless.

In a nutshell, the method usually includes first softening the onions and garlic in the butter and oil, briefly toasting the rice with the onions, then adding the liquids starting with the white wine first, then the simmering vegetable stock, one ladle at a time. It's the stirring action that helps the rice to release all it's starchy goodness, so don't neglect the stirring. If you have friends over you can enlist someone to help stir and keep you company in the kitchen! It's well worth the 20 minutes and it goes by fast. Let me know if you try the recipe and if you have any favorite flavor additions for your risottos!

Wild Mushroom and Pea Risotto

2 T butter or margarine
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Mushroom mixture:
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 portobello mushroom, chopped
2 cups chopped white or brown button mushrooms
1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms

In a small-medium saucepan bring the vegetable stock to a boil, then reduce heat to low and maintain at a simmer.

Place the chopped hazelnuts in a dry skillet and bring to a medium heat until toasted, stirring frequently, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to a bowl to cool and to stop the toasting.

Heat a skillet to medium-high and add the olive oil and chopped mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until golden brown, then add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the rice to the onion and garlic mixture and toast, stirring for a minute or so. Then add the white wine and continue cooking and stirring until completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Using a soup ladle, add the simmering vegetable stock to the rice, one ladle at a time. After each ladle, stir rice until the stock is absorbed into the rice before adding more stock. Continue ladling stock into the rice until about 4 cups of stock have been absorbed and rice is smooth and creamy, but not mushy. Rice can be slightly al dente, this should take about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the grated parmesan cheese, mushrooms, walnuts, peas and salt and pepper to the rice and stir gently until combined. Turn into a serving bowl and sprinkle with more grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

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