Friday, October 15, 2010

Risotto Love

I have been driving my loved ones crazy the last few years hanging on to a memory of a plate of grey goo that I ordered in a French Restaurant in Toronto, that ended up being one of the best things I ever ate. That grey goo was a mushroom risotto that will always go down in culinary history in my mind.

For a long time I have been fearful of attempting a traditional risotto, because of the long continuous process needed to make the yummy creamy dish I had been dreaming about. I was also not willing to make the instant version. I finally decided to give it a try. To make this goal happen I made it one of my New years Resolution. I know a bit of a crazy resolution, but I accomplished it. Better than my usual eat healthier, loose weight resolutions.

Unfortunately with all the craziness that life brings, including house shopping, moving, and pregnancy I had forgot about my resolution. That is until a friend of ours Sarah, the author of the food blog Food adventure club posted her own adventure with Risotto, Which reminded me of my resolution. Her wonderful step by step explanations of the process of making Risotto, and the advice she included made this task seem easily to accomplish.

For my own risotto attempt, I knew that I wanted it to include mushrooms, Parmesan, and truffle oil, but was not sure what other flavors would be needed. I used Sarah's recipe as a guide, and then added two other recipes one from the Food network by Tyler Florence & another from Epicurious to guide me with the use of the herbs I had in my garden & the addition of truffle oil. From these three recipes I pulled elements from each and created the recipe I used from my own risotto challenge.

Mushroom Risotto:

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Onion Finely chopped
2 Cups dried mushrooms (I used 1 cup shiitake, & 1 cup crimini)
2 Cloves of garlic minced
2 Cups Arborio rice
5-6 Cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
2 Cups liquid reserved from rehydration of the mushroom
1/4 Cup white wine at room temp.
2 Bay leaves
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 1/2- 2 Cups fresh grated Parmesan
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter (optional)
3/4 Tbsp truffle oil (optional)

  • In a bowl rehydrate 2 cups dried mushrooms with 2 cups boiling water, until the mushrooms are tender.
  • While waiting for mushrooms, heat stock in a medium saucepan until boiling then reduce to a simmer.
  • Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add half the onions and fry until translucent, then add the reconstituted mushrooms (remember to reserve the liquid), the diced garlic, & season with salt & pepper to taste. Fry mushrooms until they are lightly browned. Set aside until ready to add to rice.
  • Add reserved liquid from the mushrooms to the heated stock.
  • In a large sauce pan heat remaining oil over medium high heat. Add the reaming onion, and fry until translucent then add the arborio rice and stir until all rice is coated & translucent.
  • Add white wine to the rice and cook until evaporated.
  • Add bay leaves
  • Add the stock over rice 1 cup at a time stirring continuously until the rice has absorbed all the added liquid.
  • Repeat the addition of stock 1 cup at a time.
  • At approximately the half way point of the stock addition add the mushroom mixture, and the fresh herbs to the rice. Then continue with the stock addition.
  • The rice should be creamy, but with a slight bite.
  • Remove Risotto from heat
  • Season with salt & pepper to taste
  • Add Parmesan, and butter string until melted
  • Stir in truffle oil.
Serve with a side salad, or your protein of choice. We had left over roasted chicken from the previous night.

The risotto was incredibly creamy & full of flavor. I like the meaty texture of the shiitake mushroom, (sliced portobellos would be interesting to try). The truffle oil added a nice earthiness to the dish. The risotto was nothing like the risotto I have been dreaming of over the years, but equally satisfying. This will definitely be adding to my repertoire.

The process was far from the labor intensive process I though it would be, and you get a nice steam facial during the process. If you decide to make risotto, which I would recommend. I would highly recommend following Sarah's steps & techniques she outlines in her blog.

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