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Monday, February 21, 2011

Mushroom Risotto - a Gutsy Cooks Selection

Probably like most home cooks, I was initially intimidated by the idea of making risotto. It required some kind of special weird rice, I thought, and also required practically round-the-clock stirring. Then I tried it, and realized, like most home cooks have, that it's not that difficult. You can buy the rice at any grocery store, and, although you have to stay close to the stove, you really don't have to stir every second.

I've always used Arborio rice, but I bought some Carnaroli just for fun. But I still had about a cup of arborio left, so I actually used a mixture, and can't compare.

I love the step of cooking the rice and onions together--I have no idea why.

Full disclosure: I bought a package of pre-sliced, mixed mushrooms. I must have been feeling lazy on shopping day, but I wasn't sorry that they were already sliced. Secretly, I think that buying pre-sliced anything is a sign of moral decay. As with most other signs of moral decay, it's tempting to indulge occasionally.

Pouring in the heated broth (I used chicken stock instead of vegetable broth or water). I'm sure there's a scientific reason why the broth has to be heated. I just know that it does. I also know that risotto always takes far more liquid than you think it will, so you might as well heat it up to start with. Not taking my own advice, I ended up having to heat up some water toward the end of cooking time.

And, finally, adding the sauteed mushrooms and plenty of grated Parmesan. I don't always have Parmigiano Reggiano on hand, but I did this time. I had just a little bit left after I grated it; I cut that into thin shards and placed themn on top of the risotto. The bites that had the extra Parmesan were extra good.

Served with green beans with pancetta, from my French Fridays with Dorie assignment. A very nice dinner: at one time, I had all four burners of my stove occupied. This doesn't happen very often. When it does, I fear impending doom, but no doom occurred.

Jim: I'll give this an 8 1/2. But I'd give a 10 to the bites with melting cheese.
Marie: Also an 8 1/2. Good, but it still needed a little oomph. Maybe it was just missing the wine. Maybe it just needed more salt. Garlic? Some herbs?

You can find this recipe here.


  1. Looks good, I always go heavy on the cheese, since I really like it creamy..and a good tip for the next time - make sure you add a couple of tablespoons of butter once it is done, it take the creamy factor way out there... and make it extra special.

  2. Monica,
    Adding more butter is almost always good advice.

  3. Looks good and how can you go wrong with more cheese or butter? Really, I could lick butter....could...but don't! Your pancetta green beans look yummy too!

  4. Michelle,
    My mother told me that when I was a toddler, we lived in an Italian neighborhood in Chicago. The Italian housewives apparently liked me because they'd give me bread and butter, and I'd lick the butter off the bread, then hold out the bread and ask for more. Some things never change.

  5. Gutsy Cooks? Sounds like an interesting and fun cooking club. Can you share the link? The mushroom risotto looks tasty.

  6. Bonnie,The tireless Monica ( is in charge of Gutsy Cooks.