Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My path to enjoying mushrooms keeps going farther and farther-case and point, when The Boyfriend tasted this risotto last night, the first thing he said was “this is really mushroomy” and I was surprised that I hadn’t even noticed!  Instead I was loving the gentle earthy savory flavor the risotto had throughout without even attributing it to the mushrooms.  Now I’m convinced that mushrooms truly do have that special “umami” that everyone is always talking about and this risotto really lets it shine without being too overwhelming.

Again, this is based off of Cooks Illustrated’s “Almost Hands-Free Risotto” recipe that I love so much-so much so that, it was actually the very first recipe I ever posted on this blog.  It’s perfect for a cold winter’s night and very rich, despite the fact that there’s actually only a 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in it (the normal risotto recipe calls for twice that much!).

I can’t wait for you to try it; I really can’t wait to eat this for leftovers, that’s how much I love this recipe (I HATE leftovers normally…)

On a complete side note, since this recipe calls for white wine, I love love LOVE the organic Green Fin white wine found at Trader Joes for just $3.99.  It’s light and refreshing without that hit of alcohol vapor after you swallow which comes with most cheap wines-I think this wine is perfect for cooking and for drinking-while-you’re-cooking.

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated and Gourmet via 20SomethingCupcakes
Serves 2 with some leftovers

  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 lb thin asparagus spears (the big thick ones won’t be as delicate in the risotto), cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/4 lb (approx) fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove (minced or pressed through a garlic press)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup (or 1/2 cup, depending on your tastes) grated Parmesan cheese (I used Trader Joe’s Parmesan-Romano blend, which could be why I used only 1/4 cup-it has a stronger flavor than just Parmesan by itself)
  • maybe some salt and pepper to season but I thought pepper would be too overpowering and I accidentally used full-sodium chicken broth so I definitely didn’t need any extra salt in mine
  1. Set the chicken broth and water to a boil in a pot that is NOT the pot you will be making the risotto in (I always forget and have to transfer to a new pot half way through).  Once it’s boiling, reduce to a simmer and throw the asparagus in there to cook for a few minutes.  Once it’s almost soft (or however you prefer it done), fish all of the asparagus out and set aside.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the heavy-bottomed pot you WILL be making the risotto in (I highly recommend using a dutch oven or Le Cruset for this-part of what makes this recipe work so well is that the sides heat up well and cook the risotto from all angles instead of just the bottom).  Saute the mushrooms in the melted butter for a few minutes until soft, then transfer them to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Melt the other two tablespoons of butter in the same pan and add the garlic, sauteing until fragrant about a minute.
  4. Add the rice and stir frequently for 3 minutes until the grains are translucent around the edges.
  5. Add the white wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed, about another 3 minutes.
  6. Then stir in 2 1/2 cups of the broth (there should be just a little broth left behind in the pot), reduce heat to lowish-medium, cover with a lid and let it gently simmer for 18 minutes, stirring twice.  What I do is set the timer for 6 minutes, stir, set the timer for another 6 minutes, stir again, then set the timer for the last 6 minutes and voila it’s ready!
  7. Stir in the last bit of broth to make it extra creamy, stir in the cheese, then gently stir in the mushrooms and asparagus you had set aside.
  8. Turn off the heat, cover it with a lid again and let it sit for another few minutes to let the asparagus and mushrooms warm back up.
  9. Serve immediately, with extra cheese for sprinkling, and enjoy!


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