Shitake Mushroom Risotto

A few months back, I introduced you to my risotto formula, starring Arborio rice and garnet yams.   I explained that I like to do risotto up with a vegetable that either needs to be cooked or is generally more palatable cooked, thus allowing me to consume the majority of my other vegetables raw.

Today’s risotto features shitake mushrooms. These fungi don’t need to be cooked and I actually really happen to enjoy them raw atop salads, but their richness (and meatiness) is certainly more prevalent in a cooked state. Thus, Travis and I typically make our risotto with some sort of potato, mushroom, or both (but of course, you could use any vegetable or none at all).

Shitake mushrooms have been shown to strengthen the immune system and lower blood cholesterol levels. They are also powerhouses of selenium, iron, fiber, protein, and vitamin C. They have been used in China for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, so I’m confident that eating a bunch of ‘em will only serve me well.

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Since I’ve already walked you through how to make risotto, I kept the pictures few and simple for this post. Make sure you check out my previous post if you’d like to see step-by-step visuals for making this decadent dish. Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE:  RISOTTO

Serves 4 (as a meal)

  • 8 cups homemade vegetable stock (or water)* –> I’m using veggie stock. This batch contained beet scraps, so it’s a little on the reddish side. 🙂
  • 2 cups Arborio rice**
  • 1 cup chopped vegetables (optional) –> I’m using shitake mushrooms.
  • ½ cup white wine –> I’m using moscato.
  • 1 small onion –> I’m using white.
  • Several cloves garlic (go with what you like) –> I’m using 3.
  • 2 tbsps oil –> I’m using extra virgin olive.
  • Fresh herbs, spices, salt, and pepper to taste –> I’m using 1 tsp dried thyme, a few turns of fresh ground black pepper, and a ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt.

*You may not use it all, but it’ll be close. Have it handy on your stovetop in a pot on low heat, ladle-ready.

**Unlike other grains, do not rinse your Arborio rice before use.

Start by chopping your onion and garlic and sauté in a touch of oil over medium-high heat until they are almost cooked through, but not quite. Then, transfer them to a bowl, return the pan to the stovetop, add a touch more oil, and sauté your vegetables, if using, until almost cooked. Transfer them to a separate bowl and return the pan to the stovetop, this time over medium heat.

Add more oil (about 1 tbsp) to the pan to toast your dry rice. Stir the rice constantly to prevent sticking, toasting it until it has deepened in color slightly, about 5 minutes. Add in half of the cooked onions and garlic, as well as your seasoning of choice, and deglaze your pan with the white wine. After the wine cooks down, add a ladle of your veggie stock and stir fairly regularly over the course of the time it takes for that ladle to absorb completely. You can expect 3-5 minutes between ladles.

You will repeat this process—ladle and stir—many times over the course of 40-45 minutes. When the rice is almost finished, add in the remaining onion and garlic, as well as your veggies (if any), to the pan to finish cooking. From start to finish, this dish will take you 60-75 minutes (depending on how fast you prep and such) and a lot of attention. As soon as the rice is tender, you’re done, so taste as you go.

Garnish with fresh herbs or thinly-sliced green onion. Makes for yummy, comforting leftovers for 3-5 days.

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