MUSHROOM RISOTTO

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Whenever I head to an Italian restaurant (which is hardly ever)… but when I do, I always end up ordering their risotto or seafood pasta (only if the latter is really good). I remember having my first risotto when I was about 18 or 19, and back then, my friends and I were poor, starving students. But I guess our stomachs were probably more important than our wallets that we ended up at Michelangelo’s at Holland Village. It made such an impression on a hungry child like me that since then, risotto has always been my all time favourite Italian dish.

(A quick aside, one place you should head to for really good Italian food is La Cantina in Venezia at Changi Village Hotel!)

And so, maybe because it’s a mainstay in Italian restaurants… but I’ve always viewed risotto as an atas dish. I never thought much about cooking it – I gave myself too many reasons not to cook it : the ingredients would be expensive/it’s very tough to make/my kitchen doesn’t have the equipment for that/I’m just too lazy etc.

But ever since I bought damn cheap Arborio rice from Coles during my recent trip to Perth, and after trying out this foolproof recipe from AllRecipes.com, my preconceived notions about the risotto are all GONEEEE!

I’m sorry I judged and dismissed you so quickly. And you deserve better, I’m sorry that my iPhone 3GS did not do you any justice.

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

Serves 3 to 4

Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes

6 cups chicken broth, divided
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp finely chopped chives
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
  • Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

  • When it comes to cooking, I tend not to follow the measurements to a T, especially if it involves an ingredient that is pretty salty/sweet. I reduced the number of cups of chicken broth to about 3 to 4, but my risotto was still a little saltier than what I would have liked it to be. See what works for you, you might not need the full 6 cups. Alternatively, dilute your chicken broth with water.
  • This dish is extremely versatile. I added some sausages when stirring in the mushrooms and the dish turned out great. That said, do take into consideration the saltiness from the sausage. I didn’t even have to add sea salt to taste at the end!
  • If you’re lazy like me, save yourself the trouble and purchase pre-packaged mushrooms which have already been sliced. I used white mushrooms for this recipe instead.
  • I substituted the dry white wine for a cooking wine.
  • Add some garlic if you like when cooking the shallots
  • Reduce the amount of Parmesan cheese if you don’t like your dish to be too creamy and sticky.
  • Drizzle a little truffle oil before serving.
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