Mushroom Risotto

I would suggest that you only attempt risotto when you feel like standing over a hot pot for 30 minutes. I usually love it because I’m always poking at my pots, unable to just let things be… Good thing risotto thrives on interference, unlike some other dishes. However, I decided to tackle this dish on one of the hottest, most humid days in recent memory. Bad idea. Hopefully the calories I burned off sweating and attempting to cool myself down helped offset the subsequent eating of the risotto. If not, bah, it was still worth it. Get the following ingredients ready, because once you’re cooking, you can’t really stop to chop or measure stuff out. That also means that you need to choose an album or playlist at least a half hour long – I think I had my faves playlist going while I was madly stirring, which contains stuff by Wintersleep, The Black Keys, Mother Mother, Rae Spoon, Land of Talk and The Supremes. An eclectic (and much-shortened) list so be sure. I know I’ve probably mentioned all these bands already, and I would love to suggest something new for you to listen to as you stir away, but the reality is I’m in a musical rut. I need some new stuff, so c’mong gang, let’er rip. Who do you love to listen to as you zip about the kitchen doing your “thang”?

So I didn't realize when I garnished my risotto with a sautéed king oyster mushroom that it would end up looking like a slug attacking the risotto, but by the time I'd reviewed the pictures all the risotto had found its way into our tummies... So now more photo ops until the next time I whip this up, which means we're stuck with the slug.

This recipe is (mostly) from The Candle Cafe Cookbook, one of the few I use with any regularity. Love it!

Here we go:

  • 0.5 cup dry white wine (or, in a pinch, a SMALL splash of rice vinegar to give it a bit of a kick. If you do though, make sure you replace the lost 0.5 cups with water or veggie broth)
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp EarthBalance butter
  • 0.5 tsp minced garlic (I think I ended up putting more like 1.5 tsp, but whatever floats your boat)
  • 2 cups mushrooms (king oyster or baby portabellos are probably best, with some inoki for garnish), thinly sliced or cut into small cubes
  • 1 small bell pepper (optional but nice for colour)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • dash of turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp shredded Daiya mozarella “cheese” (optional, but delicious)

In a saucepan, combine the wine (or vinegar), both and water. Bring to a boil, then keep it simmering over low heat until you’re ready for it. In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the “butter” then add the garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper, turmeric, salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms start getting a little golden (a few minutes), add the rice and stir until everything’s well-coated. Add half a cup of the simmering broth to the rice, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly. Stir constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Continue adding the broth in half-cup increments, stirring continuously, until the rice has absorbed all of it (should take about 20 minutes or so). The rice should be creamy and tender when it’s ready, not soupy or sludgy. It should also remain a little al dente and not turn into porridge. Should you want to, stir in the cheese, then serve.

The great thing about risotto is that it reheats really well and almost tastes better the next day. I recommend making a ton whenever you set your mind to risotto, because then you can live off it for a week afterwards. Yay leftovers!


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