A traditional northern Italian dish, mushroom risotto is the ultimate comfort food. Saucy arborio rice cooked in wine and broth, and topped with sautéed mushrooms and parmesan, it’s just the thing to warm you up on a cold winter’s day.
There is nothing so relaxing as making a big pot of risotto. Stirring that pot of rice, adding in the broth bit by bit, it can almost be meditative.
A lot of people don’t make risotto because they’ve heard it can take hours, or because as I’ve been told “I can barely even make regular rice!” Well, let me tell you a secret. Risotto is WAY easier than regular rice! (Unless you’ve got a rice cooker, in which case you’re cheating and you win.)
With real rice, you have to catch it at that perfect moment when all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, but before it burns, and if you take the lid off the pot too early, or too late, or stir it at all, you can wreck everything and end up with a clumpy disaster.
With risotto, you can see how much liquid is in your pan. You can tell when it’s time to add more. And the best part (for this person who likes to poke and prod her food as it cooks), you can stir it.
Whenever. However long you want. Stirring is encouraged!
As for the length of it, yes, it does take a while. Half an hour of semi-hands on cooking. For me, the kitchen is a safe and quiet space (I have created that illusion by terrifying my family members with threats of dismemberment if they step foot in the kitchen while I’m cooking, and it seems to have worked… for now…). I love the half an hour of quiet it brings. I can catch up on tv, make other food, write stories, all while stepping occasionally back to my giant vat of rice to add a little more liquid, and give it a stir.
Start with a simple pat of butter and a chopped onion. Melt the butter and cook the onion until it’s soft.
Then add the rice, and stir until it’s completely coated and glistening.
Now the best part – add the wine! (One cup for you, one cup for me!) Turn the heat to medium so that it’s simmering.
Stir and let it simmer and simmer. In another pot, start heating up your broth. It should be steaming, but not boiling. As the liquid reduces in your large frying pan, add 1/3 of the broth, wait until it’s reduced, and add another 1/3.
In another small frying pan, add a little butter and then add your sliced mushrooms. Sautée them until they are soft and fragrant. I like mine a little toasty!
Add the remaining third of the broth to the frying pan, and keep reducing until you are left with some saucy rice!
The rice should be soft and cooked all the way through, and have made it’s own sauce. It should be the consistency where you could probably eat it with a fork or a spoon!
Dump some of those cooked mushrooms on top, and a
ton sprinkle of parmesan cheese!
There you go, creamy, heavenly mushroom risotto, the best comfort food around!
What’s your favourite comfort food?
- 7 cups Chicken Stock (homemade is best - http://halifaxbloggers.ca/isaynomato/2015/01/07/homemade-chicken-stock/)
- 1 cup dry, white wine (Chardonnay will do)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 4 tbsp butter + 1 tsp butter
- 4 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced (~ 8-10 mushrooms)
- parmesan cheese to taste
- Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large frying pan, and add the chopped onion. Stir frequently until onion is soft.
- Add rice and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring until the grains glisten
- Pour in the wine, and boil until absorbed, stirring occasionally.
- Add 2 cups of the simmering chicken stock, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until almost all absorbed.
- Add 2 more cups of chicken stock, and continue to cook and stir until almost all absorbed. Repeat, cooking and stirring and waiting until all the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is soft. (I like mine just a little saucy). This could take 20-30 minutes.
- After you add the last bit of broth, melt the last tsp of butter in a smaller frying pan, and sautée the mushrooms, cooking them until they are soft (I like mine just a little brown!)
- Serve with the mushrooms on top of the risotto.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese
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