Risotto is one of those meals that feel rich and luxurious, but without all the calories of say, a carbonara. In fact, risotto typically does not contain a single dash of cream and only uses a minimal amount of butter and oil. The luxurious, melt-in your mouth texture comes from the high levels of amylopectin starch contained within Aborio rice (an Italian, short-grain rice). In order to release this starch, Aborio must be cooked slowly with a hot liquid (here we are using chicken stock) added a little at a time. This rice has become fairly common, and can typically be found in the pasta section of your grocery store (you can also purchase via Amazon here).
While there are many different ways to cook risotto, my favourite is with mushrooms. Lots and lots of mushrooms! I did not specify in this recipe the type of mushroom to use as any will do, but I like to get a bit fancy and throw in a variety. Stores like WholeFoods tend to have a good selection that are not pre-packaged, so you can grab a handful each of oyster, porchini, shiitake, button, etc.
As this is a vegetarian dish, I treat the mushrooms as the "meat" and therefore splurge a bit on the cost. Saying that, I have made this recipe with nothing but brown mushroroms and it has still come out just as delicious!
It is important to note that this dish requires patience! If you cook the rice too quickly it will not take on that creamy texture and instead be mushy on the outside and still rock hard on the inside. Make sure to taste as you go, and stop cooking once the rice has taken on an al dente texture. You may not need to use all the stock, or you may need to add in a bit extra - this will all depend on how warm your pan is, as well as how quickly you are adding in the stock. Don't worry if you don't get it perfect the first go, but I promise you that once you get the recipe right you will never stuff it up again.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto
- 2 tbl olive oil
- 1 tbl butter
- 1 onion (diced)
- 24 oz mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 tbs fresh thyme (chopped)
- 2 c. aborio rice
- 3/4 c. white wine
- 5-6 c. chicken stock
- 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Green onions (garnish)
- Step 1 Bring your stock to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low to keep the stock hot, but not simmering.
- Step 2 In a large (12 inch) pan, place your butter and oil and bring to medium high heat. Once the butter has melted, add in your sliced mushrooms and chopped thyme. Saute for 5-6 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened and reduced in size.
- Step 3 Remove the mushrooms and their liquid from the pan and set aside.
- Step 4 Place the same pan you cooked the mushrooms in back on medium heat and add another tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in your onion and saute for a few minutes, until they soften and become translucent.
- Step 5 Add the rice to the pan and stir well, so that the rice is coated in the oil. Saute for another minute.
- Step 6 Add your wine and cook, while stirring, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Reduce your heat slightly, to medium/medium-low.
- Step 7 Add in a half a cup or so (a ladle-full is perfect) of your stock to your rice and, one again, cook while stirring until the rice has absorbed all the stock. When the rice appears almost dry, add in another ladle of stock.
- Step 8 Repeat this process for around 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender, but still firm (think al dente pasta), and all your stock is gone.
- Step 9 Stir back in your mushrooms/their liquid, along with the shredded parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Step 10 Garnish with sliced green onions and enjoy!