Mushroom Risotto

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I can see the look on all of your faces. Why on Earth would a busy-bee college student make risotto? It seems to take so long!

Wrong. Risotto doesn’t really take that long. A basic risotto (with just shallots/onions, wine, and broth) can take around 20 minutes, and I’ve decided to make mine a fuller dish with caramelized mushrooms. That’ll add just another 8 minutes, but I promise — it’s totally worth it.

Destroy all those preconceived notions you have about this delightful Italian meal. Risotto can be inexpensive to create, and it’s actually perfect for hungry college students — you can load risotto with kale, peas, mushrooms, artichokes, butternut squash, and pretty much anything and everything. The dish is as satisfying as the ingredients you care to put in it.

Click here for the recipe for ‘Mushroom Risotto’

I will post another basic risotto recipe for those who do not like mushrooms, or for those who would like to nail risotto in around 20 minutes. Feel free to change my recipe around to your liking. This is a rich dish, as it should be. You can definitely reduce the butter used while cooking the onions and add some other sort of fat like olive oil if it makes you feel better. I did try to keep things low-fat here(hah), but if you want a super ultra creamy *oh-my-god-what-is-this?!* risotto, go ahead and add maybe 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of heavy cream.. That’s ENTIRELY optional. Still, you must promise me you’ll add the pat of butter towards the end. That makes your risotto ultra silky and smooth.

I don’t expect you to eat risotto every night and dine like a gluttonous one percenter. However, risotto is easily one of the most impressive dishes you can make, and you will feel like one sophisticated, rich-a$$ college student if you make this dish.

Here’s what you need:

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Arborio rice (don’t wash it!), white or yellow onion, garlic, mushrooms, white wine (recommended: Chardonnay), broth (chicken or vegetable), buttah, grated Parmesan cheese, and soy sauce (wtf, right? please bear with me. I’ll explain).

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Heat a lot of broth/stock in a pot, and cover it with a lid until it starts boiling. Then adjust the heat to low so that it remains lightly simmering.

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Slice the ‘shrooms. You can use white button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms. Or, heck, use oyster or chanterelle mushrooms if you want to 1-up me. Just don’t use what’s growing in your yard.

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Now chop up some onion very finely. Score the onion just like this.

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Then, chop. Chop. Chop. Chop all over it so you have finely chopped onion.

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In a large stainless steel pan or pot over medium-high heat, add in some butter, chopped onion, and some mushrooms.

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Oh, screw it, this is Mushroom Risotto. I’m adding even more mushrooms.

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So, the soy sauce. That’s the secret ingredient to this dish. It will insanely intensify the flavor of the mushrooms, and it will not overpower the risotto at all, I promise.

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Add salt. And some freshly ground black pepper. For some zing.

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After about 5 minutes, the mushrooms will continue to release their juices, and everything will bubble ridiculously.

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Cook for about 2 more minutes, and most of the juices will have evaporated and become concentrated. Here’s where you add finely minced garlic.

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The fragrance of these mushrooms. I cannot even express to you. You just have to make it at home. The garlic is cooked after about 30 seconds, so transfer it all to a bowl and set aside.

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Back to that pot. Over medium-high heat, add some more butter and chopped onion.

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Cook the onions for about 2 minutes, and then dump in the Arborio rice.

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Stir the rice around so that it sorta.. snaps, crackles, and pops. Well, not quite.

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What we’re looking for is for the rice grains to become ever so slightly toasted, and they are transparent on the outer edge. That’ll take about 3 minutes in the pan, so move it around constantly with your spatula/wooden spoon.

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Now, some vino. Add some white wine.

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Stir it all around… The fragrance. holy omg, I wish you could smell this.

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After about 1-2 minutes, the wine will totally evaporate. Here’s where the fun starts.

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That hot broth you set aside at the beginning. Add a lot of it, and stir it all around. (check recipe below for the exact amounts).

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When I say stir, I don’t need you to stand there and stir constantly. You can stir it every 2-3 minutes. It’s really not that much of a hassle. If you can wait around for water to boil each time you make spaghetti, you can stir some risotto around. Trust me.

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After about 5 minutes, you can start to see the starch in the rice being released to thicken the dish. Yummy.

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When you’re out of broth (after about 10 minutes), you’ll know immediately. Run your spatula across the pan, and you can see there is no more liquid. Add more hot broth!

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The pot of broth should be on the stovetop next to you so that the transferring process is simple. Do not — I repeat — do not use cold or room temperature broth/stock. It’ll make the rice “seize” up and it’ll take you a million years to make this dish. Make sure the broth is HOT!

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Now, as before, stir that all around. It looks nice and thick. Just how I like it.

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After you’ve given the rice a few more minutes to absorb that broth, dump in your cooked mushroom mixture. MHM.

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Stir. It. All. Around.

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Are we almost done? Almost. Check out the rice. It looks pretty thick and starchy. Taste your rice. Is it hard and uncooked? If your rice tastes really uncooked, repeat the steps above: add more broth, and continue to stir and cook the rice(for a few more minutes) until it is done. Does your rice taste al dente — meaning it has a very, very slight chew to the center? If so, then that is perfect.

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Add some Parmesan cheese and some more butter. I never said I was your nutritionist. Add butter if you want the creamiest and silkiest damn risotto ever.

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This is the perfect consistency. Not soupy, but with enough creamy liquid to coat each grain well. Now taste it. How’s it taste? What’s it need?

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I say more pepper, please.

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Then toss in some chopped fresh parsley. And…..

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We’re fini! Finished! You should be able to stick a spoon in the risotto and it’ll hold in place by itself. GLORIOUS. Enjoy and share the love.

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