I love carbs. There is no way to deny it. Whenever I want to lose a bit of weight that has crept up on me, I avoid certain carbs and eat more vegetables in their place, but there is no way I could be a low carb person full-time.
The weather here is turning cooler, and the nights are getting longer, and that is when I start to crave carbs more than ever. I have meant to make risotto for ages now, and I am at the point where my pantry shelves are groaning under the weight of “ingredients” that are crying out to be used.
I have also been in a food rut for a while and needed a kick to start cooking some new things. I had a quick survey of the shelves, and the fridge and had everything I needed to make mushroom risotto. I have these lovely porcini mushroom stock cubes I got from one of my Foodie Penpals and was so excited to finally use some of them. I will leave the last one for some cream of mushroom soup.
Risotto is one of those recipes that as long as you have a bit of patience is hard to go wrong with. The only thing I will change next time is the addition of peas to the recipe. I used thin asparagus and while it was tasty, there just wasn’t enough vegetable to mushroom ratio. Hubby had leftovers today, and put a good amount of peas in when he reheated it and it really made a difference.
This recipe can be as light or as fattening as you wish. You can increase/decrease the oil and butter, or leave them out entirely, and you can decrease the amount of parmesan used. Use any vegetable you have on hand needing to be used up, or simply use frozen vegetables and compensate with less liquid.
I used a mix of chestnut, porcini and shiitake mushrooms and I cheated. Instead of reconstituting dried mushrooms, I found a pack of them ready to cook with. Yay! I love shortcuts sometimes.
To make this risotto, you need about 30 minutes cooking time and a bit of patience. Don’t just chuck all the ingredients in and walk away because you get distracted. You will be left with a sticky chewy mess. Not that I did that, and I certainly did NOT then have to go to the grocery store and start again. While I am good with some multitasking, I am not good at cooking and multi-tasking.
Start by sautéing the onions, garlic and mushrooms until the onion becomes translucent, and the mushrooms are a bit less rubbery.
Next stir in the rice and vermouth (or dry white wine) until the liquid is absorbed. Next add the stock a cup at a time. I have used porcini mushroom stock cubes, but you can use chicken, vegetable or even water here. One thing to note is that due to the salt in the stock cubes and in the parmesan, I would recommend avoiding the use of any extra salt here. As the rice cooks, you will want to continue stirring as this is what releases the starch and gives the risotto its creamy texture.
When you add the last cup of liquid, add the reconstituted mushrooms and asparagus and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring constantly. Finally when the rice is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed by the rice, add the parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve in heated pasta bowls with a further sprinkling of parmesan on top, with a green side salad.
This dish is good any time of the year as you can switch up the ingredients, and is a lovely filling dish. This makes 4 servings and can be reheated.