Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mushroom risotto for dummies

I like to cook quite a bit. One of my favorite things is to cook for other people - especially really involved time-consuming multi-step recipes. Informal dinner parties at my condo are my favorite kind of entertainment. I can baste the chef all I want (since I don't have to drive), I can make sure that I like everything on the menu (even the veg. items), and if I do all the cooking I don't have to do much cleaning ('cause whoever cooks does not clean - thems the rules of the hiz-ouse.)

So I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes - not that you can't find most of these on other sites. Almost everything I do is a close variation of a published reciple. I'm no chef - I can't create new food, but I sure as hell can take a recipe and make it yummy!

With a nod to Alton Brown, here goes - Mushroom Risotto ala doctawife.

Hardware
deep, heavy bottomed skillet
spatula
measuring cup
small pot
cutting board
chef's knife
deep pasta pot
cheese grater

Software
1 cup aborrio or carnaroli rice
4 x 2cm diameter leeks - white part only, cut across the grain into 1 inch disks then washed by soaking in the deep pasta pot
1lbs. mushrooms - shiitake, white, baby bella, dried morel all work, caps only, quatered
4 tablespoons butter, divided evenly
4 tablespoons olive oil
about 32 ounces (two boxes) of chicken stock - I like the organic free range kind. If vegetarian, use imitation chicken stock or mushroom stock.
1/4 cup sherry, brandy or white wine - sherry is the best, so use it if ya got it.
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon - substitute 1 teaspoon dry tarragon if that is all you have
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Heat the chicken stock in the small pot over low heat. Do not boil.
  • Heat olive oil and half of the butter over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the leeks. Saute for three minutes until just starting to soften. Keep the leeks moving enough and the heat just barely low enough that they don't brown.
  • Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 7 more minutes.
  • Stir in the rice and keep it moving in the pan. Watch for the rice kernal to change from fully opaque to translucent with an opaque center. Without this step, the risotto won't become creamy as it should.
  • Deglaze your pan with a hit of sherry. I tend to be generous with the sherry, but you just need enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the sherry (or whatever) has almost fully evaporated, add 1/4 - 1/3 cup of the hot chicken broth and stir to mix. Warm chicken broth is necessary to let the rice release its carbs out into the pan, creating that creamy texture we all know and love. Risotto with cold or room temperature stock just doesn't work. Once the first batch of stock is almost fully absorbed, add the second 1/3 cup. Keep repeating the cycle until the rice is firm to the tooth, but pleasantly soft and creamy (about 20 minutes). The amount of stock used will vary, just keep a good supply nice and hot in the small pot.
  • Once the rice is done, add the remaining butter, taragon, parmesan, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Bon Apetit!

4 comments:

Eileen the Jellomonster said...

mmmmmmmmmmauuuuuuugggghhhh (homer simpson drool)

when the hell are you going to cook this for me???????

miss you,
ween

Eileen the Jellomonster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karla said...

Me likey the risotto. It's one of my favorites to cook as well. I love either mushroom or shrimp risotto.

Dude we might have to trade recipes. I's gots lots of 'em.

Karla said...

Well, after reading your post and having the word "risotto" pop up like, 6 times yesterday, I gave in and made shrimp risotto last night. It was almost a no-brainer.
Yum.