Mushroom and Arugula Risotto

Mushroom and Arugula Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant, but I’ve always been intimidated to make it.  A few months ago I took an Italian cooking class at Great News that helped me overcome my fear of risotto.  This is my second time cooking risotto and I was amazed at how easy it was and it turned out perfectly.  I am definitely adding risotto to my list of favorites to make for company.  Hopefully this post will help you all feel the same way.

There are a few tips I want to pass on that I think help make cooking risotto simple.  First, have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you get started.  Risotto is the kind of recipe that you don’t want to pause in the middle to chop an onion.  Second, cook risotto on a night when you have plenty of time and are feeling patient.  Risotto done the right way takes time and consistent stirring so save this dish for a night when you’re willing to be in the kitchen stirring for 30 – 60 minutes.  Finally, only stir the risotto in one direction.  You can go clockwise or counter clockwise, but not both.  The chef at Great News taught me this and she swore this is the secret to perfect risotto.  I can’t help but think she is on to something because I’ve stirred in the same direction both times I’ve made risotto and it tastes just like it does in the restaurants.  Give this recipe a try and let me know how it turns out.  As you’re making it you’ll come to realize that once you master the base of the risotto (the rice and broth part listed below) you can really add anything to risotto.  The possibilities are endless.  I’m really looking forward to turning risotto into the meal that I use to incorporate all the left over veggies and meats I have in the fridge.

Mushroom and Arugula risotto

- Recipe for Mushroom and Arugula Risotto -
Adapted from FineCooking.com

Ingredients

- 1 container of button mushrooms and 1 container of brown mushrooms, quartered (you could put in any mushrooms that you like and add more if you like a lot of mushrooms in your risotto)

- 6 cups of low sodium vegetable or chicken broth (or a combination of both)

- 1/4 cup of butter, separated

- 1 medium onion, finely diced (the alligator works perfectly for this)

- 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice

- 1/2 cup of dry sherry

- 1 bag of arugula (you can add more if you like arugula)

- 1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

- Pepper to taste

Directions

In a sauce pot heat up the vegetable or chicken broth.  You want to heat the broth to the point where it’s almost boiling and keep it at that temperature the entire time you’re making the risotto.  In a separate pot (I used my 5 1/2 qt Le Cruset, which I think is perfect for risotto since it maintains a consistent heat) melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add the onions and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.  Cook the onions over medium heat for a few minutes until they have softened and are turning a light golden color.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the rice and stir constantly for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms to the rice and stir constantly for another minute.  Increase the heat to high and add the sherry  and stir furiously until the sherry is almost all the way reduced.  Drop the heat on the rice down to medium.  Now it’s time to start adding the broth to the rice mixture.  Throughout this process you’ll want to add one ladle full of broth to the rice mixture at a time.  This is where the patience comes in.  Once you add your first ladle full of broth you’ll want to start stirring in one direction.  The goal is to get the rice to absorb all of the liquid before you add the next ladle full.  The best way to tell if it is time to add the next ladle of broth is to drag a wooden or silicone spoon across the bottom of the pan (through the risotto).  If the rice sort of holds form and creates a valley and very little liquid seeps out the bottom it’s time to add the next ladle full.  In the beginning it could take several minutes for the rice to absorb the liquid, but towards the end it will go a bit faster.  You’ll keep adding the liquid until almost all the liquid is used up.  Towards the end when you have about a cup of liquid left you’ll notice the rice is now having trouble absorbing the liquid.  Just keep an eye on it and add a little at a time until you think the rice has absorbed all the liquid it can.  At this point the rice should be nice and creamy, even though you haven’t added any cream or cheese.  Now it’s time to add the arugula, cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  Fold these items into the risotto until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are combined.

Good luck and remember the risotto goes well with a bit of patience and don’t forget to keep stirring in one direction!

 

love, ali

 

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