I have grown up enjoying the simple pleasure of risotto. Risotto is not a difficult dish to make; it just takes time to get the rice done. Many a time I have seen contestants on food competitions try and fail because of crunchy risotto so I planned to be smart and take my time when attempting this dish.
The recipe I used, adapted from the one and only Giada De Laurentiis, was rather simple. I started by soaking dried mushrooms in chicken broth and chopping some fresh mushrooms. Then I chopped an onion and let that saute with olive oil and butter. I thought it was interesting to use both but it turns out that the olive oil keeps the vegetables from burning and the butter adds nice flavor.
Once the onion had softened, I added the fresh mushrooms with some garlic and left that to saute. I then pulled the dried mushrooms out of the broth, chopped them, and added them to the mushroom mixture. Next I added Arborio rice, which is a short-grain Italian rice. Using a short-grain rice keeps the risotto smooth and creamy.
Over the next half an hour or so, I added a cup of broth every time the previous had been absorbed. Then I checked the rice to be sure it was cooked and was ready to add thawed peas and Parmesan cheese. I chose to add half of the cheese and save the other half for garnish on top. Once I took a bite of the finished product, I knew that this was one of my favorite risotto recipes.
Previously, I had only had saffron risotto, which is a lovely yellow color with a sweet and earthy taste. Saffron happens to be one of the most expensive spices around so this was a tasty alternative. The mushrooms added so much flavor and the peas were bursting with freshness. The rice had the perfect taste and wasn’t too firm. My taste-testers also loved this recipe and the leftovers were gone by the end of the week. Bon Appetit!
Mushroom Risotto with Peas
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Makes 6 servings
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, finely chopped
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Allow chicken stock to simmer in a medium saucepan. Add dried mushrooms and keep the heat low.
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add olive oil and onion and saute for about 8 minutes with medium heat.
Add white mushrooms and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low.
Remove dried mushrooms from broth with a slotted spoon and finely chop. Add to saucepan and continue to stir.
Saute until mushrooms are tender and liquid has disappeared.
Add rice to saucepan and brown for a few minutes. Add wine and occasionally stir for three minutes.
Add 1 cup of broth and stir often.
Continue this process for about 28 minutes or until rice has cooked through.
Add cheese and peas and serve immediately. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.