At my first encounter with risotto in an Italian restaurant, I just felt that the rice was more or less like the seasoned rice cooked in Chinese way. The way of cooking risotto and the Chinese seasoned rice we used to eat are totally different of course. The common ingredient of both kinds of rice is stock. What makes risotto so different is the unique, chewy texture of the rice, seasoned with cream and cheese, together with herbs.
To cook risotto is simple and easy, yet you need patience to stir and watch over while it’s cooking. When I enjoyed the chewy, creamy risotto, I felt all the efforts I put in was so worth. It’s a wonderful, comfort dish that can be eaten alone, not just a side.
Adapted from Mushroom Risotto (Simply Recipes)
Mushroom Risotto (Printable recipe) Serves 4
- 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
- oyster mushrooms & fresh shiitake, cut into 1/2inch cubes, 1/2 cup
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup thickened cream
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 onion, cubed
- 3 to 4 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- salt & freshly grated black pepper, to taste
- parsley, for garnish
- Melt half of the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes (if using other mushrooms, like chanterelles, that would release plenty of moist, dry sauté first for a minute or two and let the mushrooms cook in their own juices before adding the butter). Add wine, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half, about 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium, add cream, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
- Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
- In a deep, heavy, medium sized saucepan, heat oil and remaining butter on medium low. Add onions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat with butter and oil. Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. This process will take about 20 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.
- Stir in the mushroom mixture and the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with parsley.
- My family and I have accustomed to the oriental taste of rice for many years, so I cooked the risotto for 30 minutes, until the center of the grain was completely cooked through, yet still kept the risotto very soft and chewy in texture on the whole.
- When the risotto is almost done, you might test by tasting a bit of them, finding out how long it should be cooked to your liking.