by Cat, Nov 2007 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Risotto is a creamy and slightly chewy, nearly orgasmic rice dish. Traditionally it is made with the Spanish Arborio rice, a short-grain rice. Today it is most commonly made with white Arborio (or other white short-grain rice), but it is far more healthful if you use brown Arborio. However, I advise pre-soaking it for at least 7 hours or overnight, to maximize its nutritional value and shorten the longer cooking time required for brown rice. See Pre-Soaking Brown Rice for details.
This recipe uses dried mushrooms, which you reconstitute; but you could certainly use wild mushrooms such as morels.
Wild Mushroom & Arugula Risotto
This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking, originally by Tony Rosenfeld (1). The original serves 4 as a main course, or 6 as a starter; I’ve cut this in half.
The original recipe calls for dried mushrooms, which you rehydrate before using (see Reconstituting dried mushrooms. Aalternately, see Wild About Mushrooms (2) or e-How (3) for detailed instructions). Consider adding some sherry to the soaking water. But of course if you have them, you can use fresh wild mushrooms from the forest or meadow. Or you can use button or crimini mushrooms from the produce section in a pinch.
The recipe is written for white Arborio rice; if you want to use brown Arborio, see instructions for Pre-Soaking Brown Rice to maximize nutritional value and shorten the otherwise lengthened cooking time required for brown rice.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- ½ oz dried mushrooms (about ¾ cup before reconstituting), or ¾ – 1 lb fresh mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- ½ medium yellow onion
- 1.5 oz baby arugula (2 cups, loosely packed) (if not available, use baby spinach or watercress)
- 2 – 3 Tbsp sliced fresh chives (or green parts of scallions)
- 1½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- ¾ cup arborio rice
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 2 ½ cups homemade chicken stock or veggie broth
- Unrefined sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- medium bowl
- 2 quart saucepan
- cast iron skillet or saucier
- Prep: Rehydrate mushrooms: First, pick through them to remove anything not a mushroom (twigs, stones, etc.). Bring some water to a simmer and pour into bowl, about 2 ½ – 3 cups. Add ‘shrooms and soak for about 30 minutes, until they have fully re-hydrated. Add a plate to keep ‘shrooms submerged.
- Drain, but reserve ½ cup of the soaking liquid for this recipe, and the remaining liquid for soups, sauces, etc.
- Meanwhile, chop the onion to make about ½ cup. Wash, rinse and dry the arugula. Slice the chives. Grate the cheese. Set all aside, separately.
- Heat stock/broth with the ½ cup soaking liquid (from mushrooms, or water if you used fresh mushrooms) in saucepan over medium heat. Keep warm (use simmer plate to keep it from evaporating), while cooking the rice.
- Cook: Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in saucier over medium-high heat. Add onion and sprinkle with about ¼ tsp salt. Cook, stirring, until onion softens and begins to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Add rice and mushrooms and cook, stirring, about 1 minute to coat the rice with the butter. Add more butter or olive oil as needed to ensure each grain of rice is coated.
- Add sherry, raise heat to high and cook, stirring, until the sherry is reduced, about 1 minute.
- Reduce heat under rice to medium. Add ¼ – ⅓ cup of the hot stock/broth to the rice and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, 2 – 3 minutes. Add another ¼ – ⅓ cup broth and cook until absorbed. Continue adding broth in increments until rice is creamy and tender, about 25 -30 minutes total. You may not need all of the broth.
- Stir in the arugula, parmesan, and all but 1 Tbsp of the chives, and the remaining 1 Tbsp butter. Continue stirring until the arugula is just wilted, about 1 minute.
- Grate some pepper over each serving, and sprinkle with remaining chives.
- If serving risotto as a main dish, serve with a salad of mixed greens and a wine vinaigrette.
- Serve risotto as a side dish to accompany grilled salmon or other wild-caught fish, roast or grilled chicken pieces, or other meat dish
- Fine Cooking recipe, originally by Tony Rosenfeld (finecooking.com/recipes/wild-mushroom-arugula-risotto.aspx)
- Wild About Mushrooms on reconstituting dried mushrooms (wildaboutmushrooms.co.uk/rehydrating_dried_mushrooms.asp)
- e-How on reconstituting dried mushrooms (ehow.com/how_5105255_rehydrate-dried-mushrooms.html)