Lately, the weather here has been less than stellar. Well, on one hand, I enjoy it, because it reminds me of crisp, cool, fall days that I love so dearly. On the other hand, since summer is quite fleeting, I’d rather hold on to my weekend barbecues, days on the water and flip-flops, while it lasts. The other day, it was damp, gray and cold and the sound of rain on my windows inspired me to make a fall, comfort food– risotto. This is one of my favorite dishes. For one, you can make any kind of risotto, lemon, basil, pumpkin, zucchini, saffron, etc. However, for me, the blue ribbon risotto will always be mushroom. It pairs nicely with herbs and it has a meaty consistency that fills you up and takes away the chill of cold weather. I used dried black trumpet mushrooms for this recipe, you could use any kind you’d like (dry or fresh). I am somewhat of a dried mushroom hoarder, so I always have a pack on hand in case of an emergency.
- 2 ounces of dried mushroom (or 8 ounces fresh)
- 1.5 c. hot water
- 2 c. soup stock
- 1 1/2 c. arborio (risotto rice)
- 1 medium/large onion, finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1/2 c. white wine
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 c of grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley (optional)
- lemon (optional)
- Place mushrooms in a pot or bowl and pour 1.5 c of hot water over them. Let this mixture sit about 15 minutes, then separate the mushrooms from the stock (place a pot under a strainer and squeeze excess liquid from mushrooms). Keep the stock for later use.
- Bring soup stock to a boil, then cover and allow to simmer over very low heat. You can use either home-made (recipe coming in the near future), bouillon cubes (e.g. Knorr), or a low-sodium stock purchased from the grocery store.
- Over a medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in about 3 TBSP olive oil for app. 2 minutes.
- Add in rice and stir until rice becomes slightly translucent (about 1 – 2 minutes). Add more olive oil if necessary.
- Pour in white wine and allow to cook until it evaporates.
- Turn heat down, just slightly, so that it is a low-medium heat (not too low). Add in warm soup stock app. 1/2 c at a time, stir occasionally. Continue adding 1/2 cups each time the water is almost evaporated, however, not completely, because you don’t want the rice to dry out. 1/2 way through (i.e. after adding 1 c of stock), throw in your mushrooms.
- When you stock runs out, add 1/2 c of mushroom stock, at a time. Tasting your risotto, to decide whether it’s achieved the desired consistency.
- When risotto is soft with a slight crunch (well that’s how I like mine at least), add in Parmesan cheese, stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with parsley and squeeze a little fresh lemon over your risotto.
I served mine with a side of shredded beet, carrot, raisin and feta salad. The salad was fresh and light. It added a nice summer touch to our fall risotto.
What is your favorite type of risotto?