Risotto is something I’ve never tried to make, although I think it probably isn’t as difficult as it is time-consuming. My P.S. decided to take on the task of making risotto a couple of years ago and frankly I laughed. He is the least patient person, ever. He must be moving every minute he is awake. So I was skeptical when he said he was going to make risotto. I didn’t think he could even stand in one place that long!
And of course he proved me wrong; he was in fact patient, successful, and has been the designated risotto maker ever since. I usually request mushroom risotto, and he uses whatever mushrooms we have on hand or canned Portobello mushrooms he stocks for emergencies. I know you winced at the “canned” part, but up North in the winter we can’t always get out for mushrooms. There are things like giant snowbanks or -40° weather that get in the way. Pfft!
So earlier this spring, which was still winter here, he made us mushroom risotto using canned Portobellos. I wouldn’t have known the difference in flavor, had I not known we didn’t have fresh mushrooms on hand. It turned out just that good. My P.S. uses chicken broth, and finishes it with a healthy handful of shredded parmesan. It is so flavorful, it’s my favorite comfort food.
He starts with a large skillet, melting the butter (real butter, he’s picky that way), then adding the arborio rice. He stirs the rice until it is coated with butter and beginning to brown. Then he adds a good dipper of the chicken broth and stirs the pan with a silicone scraper until the broth is absorbed into the rice. He continues to do that until he is down to the last cup of broth.
Next he adds the cans of mushrooms. Each can is about five ounces, so he uses two. He drains off the liquid and discards it before adding the mushrooms. Then he continues to stir and add the remaining broth to the rice, allowing it to absorb each addition.
Before serving he stirs a good ½ cup of shredded or grated parmesan into the mixture. He tests for seasoning, adding salt or pepper if necessary and serves. It’s a great accompaniment to any kind of meat or fish. Any leftovers disappear the next morning as he hits the fridge for breakfast, so I can’t say how it is the second time around. We’d have to ask him!
I’ve seen other kinds of risotto in blogs or on tv, and I might suggest he try adding spinach or peas sometime. They both look yummy. Or asparagus might be another tasty addition. I saw a carrot risotto once and that made me grimace, I’m not sure how that would work out. I’d like to try the other ideas first.
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shallots; minced
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 cup arborio rice
3-4 cups chicken stock; hot
2 cans chopped portobello mushrooms or chopped fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Heat butter in a large skillet; saute the shallots and garlic. When they are softened, add rice and stir until it begins to brown. Add 1/2 cup broth, stirring rice until all broth is absorbed. Continue to add until you have about 1 cup of broth remaining.
Open cans of mushrooms and drain before adding to rice mixture. Or add fresh mushrooms and stir well. Continue adding broth until it is to your desired level of creaminess and it is firm but not crunchy. Stir in grated cheese and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.