Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mushroom Risotto

Who has ever watched Hell's Kitchen? Well, I have. Risotto is one of those dishes that show up in every season, and in every season, almost every competitor manages to screw up risotto. I decided to put myself up to the challenge to find out the difficulty of cooking risotto.

Indeed ... it is quite difficult and requires as much patience as listening to your professor repeat a lecture or waiting for the overachieving kid to finish up all his non-relevant questions.

Here, I shall list the number of things to prevent you from messing up your risotto.
1. Make sure you have a large shallow pan. I use a 12-14 inch stainless steel pan. This makes it easier to stir the rice and absorb the liquids
2. Get good quality stock (vegetable, chicken, fish, beef) that is always simmering on the side
3. White wine is needed
4. Heavy cream or half and half makes a creamier risotto
5. Adding cold butter and cheese at the end adds a nice finishing touch to the risotto

Now let's begin!

Mushroom Risotto


1 1/2 cup Italian rice (arborio rice or similar short grain rice)
3 cups stock of choice (chicken, vegetable, beef) I used vegetarian to keep up with my vegetarianism
1 small Onion or 1 Shallot
4 cloves Garlic
1 cup White wine
1/2 cup Half and half
5 stalks Asparagus
6 oz Cremini mushrooms
1-2 Portabella mushrooms
2 Bay leaves
4 tbs Butter (set aside 1 tbs for the fridge)
1 tsp Thyme powder or 3 springs fresh thyme
Dash White Truffle Oil (O man this made me broke'd)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Preparation work
1. Boil water
2. Cut off rooty stemy part of asparagus and discharge
3. Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces
4. Cook asparagus in water for 3-5 minutes
5. Remove asparagus and run through cold water
6. Heat up stock of choice
6. Dice garlic and onions
7. Slice mushrooms into thin slices

Cooking portino
1. Add butter to the pan
2. Throw in garlic and onions until they are translucent
3. Add rice and stir around until translucent (about 5-8 minutes)
4. Add in white wine and bay leaves and stir until wine is absorbed
5. Add in 1/2 cup hot stock and stir around until liquid is absorbed
6. Continue step 5 by keep adding 1/2 cup of liquid and waiting for the liquid to be absorbed until the rice has reached perfect consistency, firm and creamy. Halfway through, add mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper. (Total time: about 25-30 minutes)
7. Add in half and half (optional for heavier, creamier risotto) and asparagus and cook until liquid is absorbed
8. Taste for if more salt and pepper is needed.
9. Add in truffle oil and stir around

Enjoy this delicious meal! If I was not vegetarian, I would add in bits of chicken. I would also add shittake and elephant mushrooms, but those are not available in my area : (.

Bird's Eye shot xD

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