I’m happy to be a guest chef on the blog! As a caterer, we do food for groups of 10 and groups of 100’s, and I love to cook risotto in the fall and winter for all of them! Yes, it’s quite a bit of stirring, but in my view, well worth the effort! I just make sure that the rest of the dinner doesn’t take much work or time!
This recipe was developed for a fellow foodie client who loves his beef, but has a wife, kids and extended family members who are vegetarians. He wanted risotto to go with his beef, and a hearty main course for the non-meat eaters. This was the result. Enjoy!
(And just to clarify, cepes are dried shiitakes, and yes, you can substitute fresh, but then you won’t have the mushroom water for the broth. Your choice.) As with any recipe, be sure you have all the ingredients in hand before you start! (photo 1) I chose to use Clos la Chance wine for this risotto. My cousin is the assistant wine maker, and I LOVE supporting her efforts! But any clean, dry white wine will work.
2 envelopes of Knorr Swiss Vegetables Soup Mix in 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Then strain out the solids, saving the liquid in the stock pot at simmer. (You may ask, why not just buy those cartons of vegetable broth? In my opinion, it's too brown and fake tasting. The dry mix in water tastes better!)
1/2 cup Dried Cepes reconstituted in 2 cups boiling water (swish them around a bit and let them stand and absorb the water. The sand/grit will fall to the bottom. After 15 minutes, use a slotted spoon to lift them out of the water and julienne). Line the strainer with a paper coffee filter. Place it over a small bowl and pour the water through the strainer. Save the water! Throw out the filter!
1 1/2 cups Minced Shallots and Red Onions (I like using all shallots, but I didn’t have enough on hand, so I mixed them together).
2 cloves Garlic Minced and 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some oil from the sundried tomatoes jar. Sweat the onions and garlic for 10 minutes (picture below).
2 cups Carnaroli Arborio Rice – add the rice to the onions, sautee the rice to coat. Add a 6oz ladle of vegetarian broth and start stirring with a wooden spoon (Yes, a wooden spoon! It works better than metal. I don't know why, but it's true!). Once that ladleful has been absorbed, alternately add some white wine, a ladleful of broth and cepe water
1 cup White Wine (plus a glass on the side for cook consumption!)
You’ll know you’re at the right temperature if you see small bubbles around the edges and in the stirring strokes. On my flat top electric cooktop at home, it's one click over medium to maintain the right rice temperature
When you’re about 20 minutes thru the process, add the solids.
1/2 cup Chopped fine Carrots, 1/2 cup Julienned Sundried Tomatoes in oil and Julienned Cepe mushrooms
Continue until all the wine and mushroom water are gone, but you may have vegetable broth leftover. After 20 minutes of stirring, start tasting! The rice should have a little texture to it. Not perfectly soft like Uncle Ben's. Once you get to the "I think it's done" point, turn off the fire and stir in the cheese, parsley and butter to finish.
2 T Butter, 1-1/2 cups Asiago grated skinny and 2T Chopped Parsley
You’ll see a texture change as the cheese and butter melt. Now’s the time to taste for flavor. The cheese probably gave it enough salt, but I usually grind some black pepper on top and garnish with a little more cheese. The pan can sit off the fire for a good 10 minutes, if need be. Just add a little more stock to loosen it back up, just before you plate up.
All in all, it should take at least 40 minutes from start to finish. Stirring most of the time, but not every second
|And it’s always a good idea to get all your measured pieces assembled before you start the whole skillet process, The French call this the mise en place.|
|Sweat the onions and garlic in a large saute pan or risotto pan. (Sweating means to let the onions and garlic cook and get translucent, but not brown. I always start this first, since it will take a good 10 minutes, right off the bat.|
|You’ll know all the liquid has been absorbed when you see the bottom of the pan when you stir. You don't want to add more liquid until the previous liquid is absorbed |
|Adding the solids; You’ll see a texture change as the cheese and butter melt. Now’s the time to taste for flavor. The cheese probably gave it enough salt, but I usually grind some black pepper on top and garnish with a little more cheese. The pan can sit off the fire for a good 10 minutes, if need be. Just add a little more stock to loosen it back up, just before you plate up.|
|I had about 9 cups of risotto when I was finished. I figure Mom and I will have some aracini on Sunday - round balls of cooked risotto dipped in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. If I have peanut oil, I'll deep fry them to golden and serve them with some marinara. If not, I'll saute in olive oil. If I do it hot and fast, it should work. |
So, what happens if you cook the risotto too fast? I found out the hard way! The rice kernels sort of exploded and turned all mushy. Part of the slow absorption process allows the starch to be released from each piece of rice and create that creamy texture. It’s not cream, it’s the starch that makes your final product creamy!