Risotto. It's earned the reputation of being difficult to make and, truth be told, I've mucked-it up more times than I care to mention. Before trying this recipe, my little arborio rice dish never came out right. It was always far from the creamy dish it should have been. Without fail, it would come out pasty and goopy, and quite frankly, not very edible. The outcome was always the same: hot mess.
But my dear friend Charlotta put me onto this recipe, one that she said was fool-proof. And indeed it is. It comes from The Gorgeously Green Diet and I've made it three times...successfully! Whooo-wee. The white wine and the dried mushrooms give the dish so much flavor-- and I just top it off with a little olive oil, shaved parmesan and lemon juice.
Like many risotto dishes, this recipe uses dried mushrooms instead of fresh ones. That's because the water used to rehydrate (reconstitute) the dried mushrooms adds so much flavor to the dish (I added the mushroom-infused water toward the end of the cooking process). I used porcini, portobello, hen of woods and "forest blend" so far, but next time I think I'll add some fresh chantarelles as well.
You can make this risotto with confidence and without fear that your culinary efforts will result in a mushy mess. Then pour yourself a nice glass of chilled white wine and enjoy.
1-ounce package mixed dried mushrooms
About 1 quart vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups risotto rice
2 wineglasses (dry) white wine
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grade Parmesan cheese
Put the mushrooms in a measuring cup and cover with 2 cups of hot water. Set aside.
Pour stock into a medium saucepan and heat gently. Keep warm over low heat.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the rice, turn up the heat, and stir until the rice looks translucent (mine never got completely translucent--but close). Add the wine and stir until almost evaporated.
Now you are ready to add your first ladle of stock (you never leave a risotto- it needs to be nursed!). Keep stirring as you add more and more stock, waiting until each addition is absorbed until you add the next ladle. After 15 minutes, taste to see if the rice is cooked; if it needs more time (and mine did), add a ladleful of the water that the mushrooms have been soaking in. The risotto is cooked when the rice is slighly al dente. Take it off the heat and stir in the mushrooms and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste, spoon into bowls, and top with a generous dusting of cheese (I added a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of lemon juice too). Enjoy!