Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

This creamy rice dish is infused with the earthy flavor of mushrooms and enhanced with fresh herbs and a handful of sweet peas. The combination of dried and fresh mushrooms packs a warm, savory punch. I like to cook the cremini mushrooms before starting the risotto. Giving the mushrooms room to brown in a large sauté pan allows these guys to achieve maximum flavor. Top off the finished risotto with a sprinkling of Asiago cheese and you are good to go.

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of oregano
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio or medium-grain rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Asiago cheese, for serving

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Once the butter has melted and the bubbles in the mixture have started to subside, add the chopped mushrooms. Stir continuously, allowing the mushrooms to absorb the butter and oil mixture. After a few minutes, once the mushrooms have begun to brown and release their juices, take off heat.

Simmer the chicken broth with the dried porcinis for 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the dried mushrooms and finely chop. Keep the chicken broth warm over low heat. In a large pan, melt the butter and sauté the shallots until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice. Add the wine, stirring often, until the rice absorbs the liquid. Add a ladleful of the hot broth (about ¾ of a cup) to the rice. Stir the rice constantly until the rice absorbs the broth. Repeat until the rice is cooked and the mixture is creamy. Stir in the frozen peas, parsley and thyme. Once the peas are cooked, adjust the salt and pepper levels. Serve with a sprinkling of Asiago cheese.

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