You’re eating your veggies, right? For those of you who just need meat with your meals, may I offer mushrooms instead. Here, the mushrooms are grilled to give a deeper, nuttier flavor, and combined with creamy rich risotto. Once you get the hang of risotto, it can be a quick dinner. Until you get the hang of it, it can be overwhelming and intimidating to make. But really, it’s just stirring some rice on the stove until it’s crazy and amazing. Get the hang of it… you’ll be happy.
- organic chicken or vegetable stock, hot
- olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 400 g risotto rice
- 1 wine glass full of white wine
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large handfuls mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- a few sprigs parsley, leaves picked and chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 pat butter
- 1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
In your biggest pan, heat a little olive oil then add the onion and celery. Cook it slow for about 10 minutes, careful not to color the veggies. Then, crank up the heat, add your rice, and stir like crazy. Add the wine and keep stirring until all the liquid has cooked away. Turn down the heat, add some salt, and add one ladleful of stock. Keep stirring, adding one ladleful at a time, working the rice and letting each ladleful get absorbed before adding another. Keep doing this until the rice is soft but still has some texture (aka bite). Should take about 30 minutes. Seems like a long time, but pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some Pavement, and enjoy the process.
While the rice is cooking, char the mushrooms on a BBQ until they are soft. Then, toss them in a bowl with the lemon, parsley, and some salt.
Take the risotto off the stove and add the butter, and cheese. Taste your risotto and add salt and pepper if needed. What you want is the rice to be creamy and just a little runny, so add more stock if it looks sticky and dry. Then, put a lid on your pan for a few minutes to let it all get even more oozy.
Pile a plate with risotto, then top with your grilled mushrooms. Sprinkle more parmesan on top along with a splash of olive oil.
Once you figure out the basic way to make risotto, don’t stop with mushrooms. There are endless risotto combinations. Just figure out the basics and add away based on what you have or what’s cheap at the store. Enjoy your veggies. –Paul Brewer