Megan’s Mushroom and White Wine Risotto

15 Jul
Risotto is such a demanding thing to make. I mean, anything with a recipe that bolds and underlines stir constantly, do not stop stirring should raise red flags but that being said, it is so friggin delightful, it will likely dominate my top 5 favourite things to eat forever and ever. What’s endearing about risotto is that something so elevated and fussy to make could have such amazing body and comfort factor.

Good risotto however, is actually pretty elusive-especially if you’re making it yourself and happen to be super impatient. Northern Italian nonnas will probably tell you risotto must be al dente but not mushy, creamy but not too rich and most of all, you can’t cheat and just let it sit in all of the chicken broth at once (the arborio rice won’t be able to absorb liquid to its full potential, making for a dull and not-fluffy risotto). Basically, making a perfect risotto is intimidating and gruelling but with some diligence and love for bang-up italian food (or intense hate for shelling out $25 every time at restaurants), it’s not impossible at all.

okay, so now that my preamble has made excuses for any possible failure on my part, let’s make risotto.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of fresh mushrooms of your choice: I used portobello and oyster
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 chopped white onion (or 3 shallots)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
should serve about two me’s 4 people

First, bring your chicken broth to a steady simmer at medium heat. Turn down to low to keep your broth warm throughout the cooking process. Tip: never add broth cooler than your risotto.

Meanwhile, clean your mushrooms. Tip: do so by ever so gently patting the ‘shrooms down with a damp paper towel. Rinsing them under running water is practically a damn felony ok?

A beautiful oyster mushroom, take care to clean the dirt in its “gills” without damaging them.

Tear up or chop up you mushrooms just like this…they look ginormous but remember that mushrooms lose alot of moisture when cooked and thus, will shrink quite substantially during the process. Extra points for finding local produce as often as possible (Ashburn, ON oyster mushrooms)

Putting your mushrooms aside, finely dice an onion

My contacts seem to prevent my eyes from burning when I chop onions. They only tear when I wear glasses like just now. Anyone else find that true/magical? 

Ok, then heat up a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot on medium low. Melt 3/4 c. of butter. My go-to brands are usually (yes, I have a “favourite butter”) Gay Lea and Lactantia My Country, which has unique buttercream like taste similar to butter you can get in Europe. Tip: don’t use anything but BUTTER. Margarine isn’t really good for you, I don’t like it, and risotto doesn’t like it. Also don’t be too concerned about calories because you can just eater lighter the meal before. But, if you still want low fat butter or margarine, you’ll probably end up with decent risotto but not the gooey creamy awesome variety (which you don’t deserve anyway!)

What great about these brands is that they offer convenient portions, a box will come with 4 of these slim sticks, each with a measurement guide. Genius. 

The rest I’ll save for the end of the cooking process.

Ouuu butter porn…and once your buttah is nice and melted, toss in those onions you painstakingly diced and saute until soft, not brown.

Now you may measure out the arborio rice (1 cup) and make sure you don’t use any other substitutes because other varieties simply will not give you enough starch content and the right kind of starch (amylopectin) that releases nice and slow  with stirring. Tip: never rinse this rice because the washing away of the surface starch will cause your risotto to become dry or inconsistent 

Add the rice to your onionsstir to coat every grain with butter for approx. 2 minutes. Tip: yes, Italians love to tan but they know to make sure their risotto rice do not become tanned or toasted, this will inhibit starch release later on. 

Add the mushrooms!

Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes…

Yup, Santa Carolina Chardonnay. I use this for cooking a lot because it’s so mediocre for drinking but quite affordable for making food. Which is good anyway because you won’t be tempted to sneak 1, 2, 10 sips and drunken cooking can be quite…painful.

Now at this point you may season to your taste with kosher salt and pepper. 

Time to add the broth, do so by ladling about 2 cups at a time or just enough to cover the rice mixture. 

What you want to do is stir for a minute or so and let it simmer for a bit, then stir some more until the liquid is almost (but not quite) absorbed. Repeat a million times. A lot people believe constant stirring is a myth and that good risotto is possible when you let it just simmer a bit. I like to stir at the beginning and end of each “cycle” and let the simmering do its job in between. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been inspired by fresh local summer corn and will promptly boil some as a side, yay corn. 

oh yes, I like it two at a time…
As your stock becomes almost depleted, taste your risotto to make sure it’s al dente. If so, the last step is to boost the creaminess of the risotto by adding that last teaspoon of butter I saved earlier, freshly grated parmesan cheese and a splash of heavy cream or half n half. In Italian this step is called “mantecatura”. Now you too can be the knowledgeable fucker who knows this fact. 

Now you’re ready to plate! 

Buon Appetito! 

bonus photo: 

so funny wtf. Can someone tip off Apple to make sure this becomes new photobooth filter? 

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