Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Risotto Edition

Egad, it is the beginning of December and it was only 56 degrees outside last night.  In my early years, I would have been gallivanting around town like a stilletoed banshee thirsty for fancy fizzy drinks, savoring the unseasonable warm(ish) nights that has been gifted to us before we had to endure the inevitable violent winters ahead. But since I passed the big 3-0 mark,  my desire for urban exploits are now limited to only culinary adventures that will allow me to remain nestled comfortably within the confines of my own toasty kitchen, wearing my favorite fuzzy pink socks. 

I had a ton of shiitake mushrooms left over from the last dinner party I hosted, so I thought to myself, why not finally try to make risotto?  I've seen it done multiple times on my favorite food competition shows, but never tried to do it myself. The ingredients were basic pantry staples, so all I needed was to purchase the abboro rice.  
Don't throw away the stems! Use them to flavor
 your broth!

Why I waited so long to make this dish, is beyond me.  The preparation was fairly easy and the result was beautiful and complex.  The trick is to keep it simple! Use beautiful, fresh, fragrant ingredients and let them do their thannng. Have left overs? The next day, mix in more parmesan cheese, panko and eggs, drop into hot oil.  Serve with a delicate poached egg, boom. Brunch. 

Shiitake Mushroom Risotto 
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes


2 Tbsp butter
2 cups flavorful mushrooms such as shiitake, chanterelle, or oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into half inch to inch pieces
2/3 cup brandy, vermouth, or dry white wine
5-6 cups chicken stock* (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
1/3 cup of peeled and minced shallots (OR 1/3 cup of yellow or white onion, finely chopped)
1 3/4 cups arborio rice or other risotto rice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives
*If cooking gluten-free, use homemade stock or gluten-free packaged stock.

1 Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan.

2 Melt the butter in a deep, heavy, medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and sauté about 5 minutes (if using chanterelles, dry sauté first for a minute or two and let the mushrooms cook in their own juices before adding the butter). Add the rice and stir to combine.

3 Add brandy, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half, about 3-4 minutes. Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan. Stir the rice almost constantly — stirring sloughs off the starch from the rice, making the creamy sauce you're looking for in a risotto. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. This process will take about 25 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.

4 Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives.

Yield: Serves 4-6.

Crispy Risotto Cake with 
Poached Egg


Leftover Risotto
3 Eggs
2 cups of Panko
1 cup of Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
Canola Oil 
Chopped parsley for garnish

1. Pour oil in skillet, at lease 1 inch deep.  Turn pan on High/Medium. 

2. Mix risotto with 1 egg, 1/2 cup of panko, and cheese, form into patties.

3. Spread the rest of panko on a flat plate, and whip two eggs in another bowl.

4. First dip patty in egg, then coat with panko, gently place patties in skillet with oil.  Repeat with other patties. Make sure you don't crowd your pan.  Flip once one side is brown. Lay patties on plate layered with two paper towels and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. 

5. Top with poached egg. Sprinkle with parsley, serve immediately.    

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