Let’s face it, risotto has a bad rap. Its reputation is up there with the untouchables, like beef wellington and baked Alaska. I’m not quite sure how risotto got black listed because there aren’t a ton of ingredients or steps involved. The only pain-staking part to consider is the stirring and stirring and, well, more stirring. But look on the bright side, you’ll have biceps of steel.
After one bite of this decadent dish you’ll be glad you added it to your culinary wheelhouse for many dinner parties to come.
So let’s roll up our sleeves and make some risotto.
The ingredients for my basic recipe are always the same: Arborio rice, stock, olive oil, dry white wine, shallots and garlic – period. Once you’re set with that magic mix it’s time to get creative with additional ingredients. I’ve used butternut squash, asparagus, roasted beets and spinach.
Some say there is a cardinal rule in Italian cooking that meat should never be added to risotto. I’m rather ambivalent on this one. For one, I wonder the truthfulness of the statement given how many times I’ve seen it served in excellent restaurants. Two, I figure the most important thing is to go with what tastes good, if that’s meat, then so be it.
Typically, if, I’m going to have a protein, I’ll serve it piled it on top of the risotto in wide shallow bowls. I often serve my Blackberry Dijon Short Ribs and Lamb Meatballs that way at plated dinner parties.
The presentation is incredibly beautiful as the risotto spreads perfectly.
For this recipe I used baby Portobello mushrooms sautéed, fontina cheese and parmesan cheese.
Sauté the mushrooms in olive oil. But don’t touch! Not for the first few minutes anyway, otherwise you’ll have soggy mushrooms. Allow them develop a slight crust then stir only once or twice more. This will insure a perfectly crisp outer and tender inside. Set them aside and use the same large skillet for the risotto for easier clean up.
Toast the risotto then add a half a cup of stock, stir until it’s nearly all absorbed then repeat for 20 minutes. The rest is risotto history.
If you’re looking for a bit more inspiration check out my YouTube video to make risotto along with me step by step.
Baby Bella Mushroom and Fontina Cheese Risotto
2 cups Arborio rice
2 ½ cups chicken stock
5 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
2 pints baby bella mushroom caps (sliced)
1 cup shallots (peeled and diced)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
7 ounces fontina cheese (shredded)
1 ounce parmesan cheese (shredded)
7-9 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 springs thyme
½ cup parsley (chopped)
Pepper to taste
In a large stock pot warm chicken stock and chicken broth together over medium-low heat (keep warm until ready to use)
Heat large heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat
Add one tablespoon of olive oil, heat for 5-10 seconds
Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently
(Stir in another tablespoon of olive oil if mushrooms become dry)
Remove mushrooms from pan
Add shallots and risotto, stir non-stop for one minute
Stir in 5 tablespoons olive oil until well incorporated
Pour ½ cup of warm stock/broth into risotto and shallot mixture, stir constantly until mostly absorbed
Continue this pattern of stirring in ½ cup of stock at a time until you’ve used 2 cups
Stir in white wine and garlic until wine is mostly absorbed
Resume stirring ½ cup of stock and stirring routine until your risotto is loose but not runny and al dente
Stir in mushrooms
Remove from heat
Stir in cheeses, about an ounce at a time, until risotto is very creamy