Monday, February 1, 2016

Mushroom Risotto

Let's kick off February with a vegetarian side dish perfect for your Valentine's Day plans. I have sized all of my Valentine's Day recipes to serve two, but they should be easy to scale up if you are cooking for more.

A risotto is creamy rice dish, that doesn't have any cream in it. The key to this phenomenon is medium grain rice, which thickens the cooking liquid to a creamy consistency. Some amature cooks find risottos to be an intimidating challenge, I know I did, but trust me when I say that all it takes is some patience and attention to detail to make a scrumptious dish to wow your significant other.


2 T of olive oil, divided
½ lb of assorted mushrooms, chopped
⅓ C of leeks, sliced
½ C of Arborio or risotto rice
3 T of dry white wine
2 C of low sodium vegetable stock, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T of butter
Shredded parmesan


In a saucepan or skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat and and brown the mushrooms until they have reduced in size and become soft. I used a mixture of shiitake, portobello, and crimini mushrooms, but you can use whatever you prefer or is readily available to you. Remove them from the pan and saute the leeks in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once the leeks are lightly browned add in the rice, stirring to coat with oil. Toast the rice until it has taken on a light golden color and then add the wine. I used a vidal, which is a blended white wine, but I would also recommend a good dry riesling for this application. Stir the rice constantly until the wine is absorbed.

Now comes the technical part. Add a ½ cup of the vegetable stock and stir until it is fully absorbed. Repeat this with the remaining vegetable stock, adding ½ cup at a time and cooking until that batch is absorbed before adding the next portion. This will take almost 20 minutes and you need to be stirring frequently to make sure none of the rice sticks to the bottom and burns and to get the cooking liquid to a creamy texture.

Once the last batch of broth has been absorbed, remove from heat, stir in the mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste and add the butter and parmesan. Feel free to substitute these for vegan options, or to leave them out entirely. The consistency won't be as creamy, but you will have a vegan version of this dish.

Congratulations, you have made risotto. I know that took a lot of stirring, but hopefully your Valentine is worth it!

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