One way I come up with a recipe is by reading lots and lots of recipes similar to what I am looking for, and using those techniques or concepts in my own recipe. For the mushroom risotto we made for my family luncheon on Sunday, that’s exactly what I did. I googled “mushroom risotto”, read many of the top recipes, and then formulated my own.
And then…. family intervened.
See, my mom wasn’t the only good cook around. My auntie D. is a great cook too! She suggested we get started on the risotto, and before I knew it I was the one washing a serving platter while she had the fun task of stirring the risotto. How does that happen??? Anyway, since I never executed the recipe I had in mind, I share the one that combined my ideas with hers!
Serves 10-12 as a side
500 g arborio rice
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 cups baby bello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
4 tbs parmigiano reggiano
kosher salt & pepper to taste
1 quart low sodium chicken broth**
1/2 cup cognac
1. Heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium high heat in a stainless steel pot. Add the mushrooms and kosher salt and pepper to taste (we added about 2 tbs kosher salt for the whole recipe) and cook until softened and the mushrooms’ liquid has reduced to almost nothing (about 10 minutes). Set the mushrooms aside.
2. Heat the rest of the oil (2 tbs) and the butter in the same pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Make sure not to burn the onion. Meanwhile heat the chicken broth + about 3 cups of water in a separate pot until simmering. (**Read the box that contains the arborio rice to know exactly how much liquid to use as it may vary.) Add the arborio rice to the onion mixture and toast for 3-5 minutes until the rice is slightly toasted.
3. Add 1/3 of the chicken broth/water mixture and stir the risotto until most of the liquid has been absorbed. You don’t have to continually stir but the more you stir the creamier it will be. Add the cognac and another third of the chicken broth/water mixture. Stir again until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Add the last of the chicken broth mixture and parmigiano reggiano and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. The whole process of this step should take no more than 20 minutes. Enjoy!
A lot of people are afraid to make risotto, but it is really not such a difficult technique to master. The trick is to keep stirring, and the result is worth the effort.