Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Spring Time+Mushrooms=Mushroom Risotto!

 So, what did the girl mushroom say to the boy mushroom, after their first date?

You're a fun-guy! 

Get it? Hee hee...

     I have loved mushrooms ever since I can remember.  When I was a kid, my mom sautéed mushrooms in butter with garlic as a side dish.  What's not good in butter and garlic?  Hmm...  

     Then I remember getting fried mushrooms at an Italian restaurant that we frequented. 

     In high school, when I started taking an interest in cooking and creating different dishes, I made variations of stuffed mushrooms for our family holiday get togethers.  Some had, sausage and creamed cheese; some spinach and cheese; some crab with cracker crumbs and spice, ie. mini crab cakes stuffed into a white mushroom cap.  By this point, the only mushroom I'd had, or cooked with was a White Button Mushroom. 
     During my college years, I didn't cook much; though occasionally I added mushrooms to a garlic-cream cheese sauce I'd concocted years earlier.  Great on any kinda noodle, and when it's cold, great for a spread on crackers.  In college I entertained the idea of trying a different type of mushroom- one that you eat, but wouldn't call it a culinary mushroom per se- but I never did.  Come to think of it there was a time when there were brownies made with those type of mushrooms... still, I didn't try it... oh well. 

     Years later after I moved to Chicago, and worked for Lettuce Entertain You Inc., I got to try many other types of mushrooms; Portabellas, Criminis, Shitake, Morels, Enoki, and more.  To this day, I've never eaten a mushroom I didn't like. 

     I know there are thousands of types of mushrooms; even thousands of different type that are edible.  Reading about them, goes into a little bit more science and big names, than I can wrap my head around enough to comprehend enough to report on for this post. In other words: DON'T HUNT MUSHROOMS ON YOUR OWN.  BUY WHAT YOU FIND AT STORES AND MARKETS. 

     If you'd like to know more about edible mushrooms, 

     Now, the main reason that I wrote this is to share a recipe for Mushroom Risotto.   Mushroom Risotto is a dish I had for the first time, years ago at an Italian restaurant in Chicago.  Don't remember the name, and it's long gone.  The risotto was so good though and became one of my favorite, and sought after restaurant meals.  However, it wasn't commonly on menus, and not every risotto tickled my fancy.  So, that inspired me to learn how to make risotto.  

     So, I started with Giada De Laurentiis's MUSHROOM RISOTTO WITH PEAS recipe.  

     Now, as per usual, rarely do I make a recipe exactly as it is.  For me, for certain ingredients, a tad more will make it that much better.  So, usually I increase the amount of ingredients that add flavor to the dish.  For example the first time I made Mushroom Risotto, I upped the amount of dried porcini mushrooms to 1 ounce, instead of the listed 1/2 ounce asked for.  Probably upped the garlic clove then too.  I like peas, but considering, they're not strongly flavored, and since mushroom was the flavor I was after, I've never made the mushroom risotto with peas.  Then over the years I've tweaked it a bit here and there each time.  
     Till now.  This Mushroom Risotto is so good, that I doubt I'll ever order it at a restaurant again.  Because after mine, it would be a disappointment.

     The only ingredients that may change from time to time is the chicken broth/stock, and the dry white wine.  Sometimes I use chicken broth that I've made, sometimes it's store bought.  The last time, due to the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact on what can be found at stores, I could not find chicken broth, so I went with stock.  The sodium was less, and I know that stock is generally made from bones and vegetables, (whereas broth is made from meat, vegetables and seasoning).  Due to variety of dried mushrooms that I use, I doubt that there is much difference in the end result.  Still, I'll go with stock when I can. 
     As for the dry white wine, I've always used a Sauvignon Blanc.  Justin Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorites thus that's what I use.  If money is tight, I've gone with a less expensive one, though I stick with California Sauvignon Blanc, cause I find them less citrusy than New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.  But again, go with any dry (not sweet) white wine you like. 
     Finally, if you cannot find the type of dried mushrooms that I've included, don't worry, just try to get as much of variety as you can.  The more the merrier. 

     Now let's get cooking!   

Mushroom Risotto~

~64oz of chicken stock/broth
~2 ounces of a variety of dried mushrooms (I use Giorgio dried mushrooms  , their Northwoods and Bistro mixes which include of Porcinis, Oyster, Morels, Shiitake, Black Trumpet, Lobster, and Boletes.) 
~1/2 cup 1 stick of unsalted butter
~3 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
~2 cups of diced sweet onion (Vidalia, Walla Walla, etc.)
~3-6 garlic cloves minced (close to a TBLS in amount) 
~8-10 oz of diced button mushrooms
~1 1/2 (12oz) of Aborio Rice
~1 cup of dry white wine
~1 cup of grated great Parmesan.  Plus more to add on.  

Add salt and pepper to taste, after all is done.  

Now onto the directions...

In a medium to large saucepan, heat stock on medium till steaming hot, then lower heat to low and add dried mushrooms.  Allow to steep as long as 30+ minutes.  Stock should be dark brown, and mushrooms should be very tender. Removed mushrooms with slotted spoon, to cutting board, and chop. 

In a large frypan with 3 inch deep sides, heat olive oil and butter, till butter is melted.  Then add diced onions, and sauté till onions are tender, about 5 minutes.  Then add diced button mushrooms and minced garlic.  Then add chopped reconstituted mushrooms.  Sautés onion garlic mushroom mixture for about another 5 minutes, till juices have cooked up.  

Next, add rice, and let toast, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  During the 15 minutes, decide on what music you want. 

After toasting rice for 15 minutes, add wine, and stir till it's cooked up.  This will take about 2 minutes, so go ahead and pour yourself some wine, and put on the music you found. 

Then, adding 1/2-1 cup of the warm mushroom infused stock at a time, stirring consistently over medium-low heat,  till liquid cooks up- about 3 minutes after each time of adding liquid.  This step will take about 30 minutes.  Perfect for a glass of wine, with great music, and/or nice chatting with loved ones. 

After you've added all the stock, the rice should be creamy, yet with just enough texture that you can see each grain of rice, but not so al dente that if you were to eat it, it would stick in your teeth.  After all the liquid has cooked up, add and stir in the Parmesan. 

Serve, add desired more cheese and Enjoy!!! 

** Sadie's Gathering is the venture of one individual-me.  If you enjoy what you read, and would like to show your appreciation via a DONATION, you'll find the button at the top of the right column.  It will be deeply appreciated, especially during this time, when my job is on hiatus.  Think of it like a magazine.  Thank you for your consideration!¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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