It’s no secret that I’m no slave to the stove. I’m generally capable of about five, maybe 10 minutes of heating edibles when I’m so over the concept of food not made by others. My mother once said to me, bluntly, that she never figured me to become an avid chef. And she’s right.
But sometimes I venture into uncharted culinary territory, when the stars align, and the timing is perfect. And recently, I found myself in a situation where standing over a range would work: I’d painted my toenails, and needed to keep them unsullied for 30 minutes so they’d dry properly. This meant one thing: time to try risotto!
Risotto is one of those things that I order at restaurants, as it’s both naturally gluten-free, and delicious–two qualities that make an entrée order-worthy. But make it at home? Sounds worky. Especially when you apparently stand there for 20 minutes straight, stirring constantly. Ugh. My sister Elin assured me that risotto is no big deal. But then again, she loves to cook!
Since I’d already soaked some dried mushrooms for another recipe and had their broth all nicely saved (and drained off without the gritty bits that settle at the bottom it seemed like the stars were indeed aligned for an earthy, brown risotto.
This is a side dish. I’m sure if you were creative you could do other things with it, but I made this to accompany pan roasted veggies (which I didn’t time properly, so the risotto was done faaaaaaar before the roasted baby carrots, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, chickpeas, and pecans –I’ll remake them, and blog them another time). But for now, let’s just give me a hearty round of applause for attempting risotto in the first place!
1 cup Arborio Rice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tbsp olive or unscented coconut oil (you’ll never notice which one you used)
4 cups mushroom broth, brought to a boil and heat reduced to keep warm (yes, this is in a separate saucepan. And you should keep it on an element beside the risotto pan). You can use a mushroom bouillon cube too, but it won’t impart as earthy a taste, or make the rich brown color.
1/2 cup ground Parmesan
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Chives for garnish (and because they’re yummy!)
Bigger Saucepan or Dutch Oven
Wooden or Silicone Spoon or Spatula
- In the bigger saucepan or Dutch Oven, fry up your onion and garlic in your oil for about 5 minutes, until soft
- add your Aborio rice and a several grinds of salt and pepper (you know what you like) to the pan, stirring for 2 minutes.
- Ladel in 1/2 cup of your hot mushroom broth at a time, reducing your rice pan heat to “simmer” and stirring until it is absorbed.
- Keep on stirring and ladling as the liquid is absorbed.
- Your Aborio rice instructions will say that it will take only 20 mins for all of your liquid to be absorbed, and for your risotto to look lovely and “creamy”. They lie. This was my frantic text to Elin at 18 minutes:
- Keep stirring. Think of your toenails, and how beautiful the hard, glossy finish will look because you stayed on your bare feet stirring your risotto.
- Finally! The risotto has absorbed all of the liquid! It took about 26 minutes in total. I’m not sure what “creamy” in culinary terms means, but it didn’t look heinous, and that’s good enough in my books. Remove from heat.
- Time to add the butter and Parmesean!
Stir the Parmesean and butter in until blended. Take a taste: more salt or pepper? Now’s the time. And….
….you’re done . Remove from heat, cover, and let it sit for two minutes.
That really wasn’t painful at all. I used a titanium pan, and honestly, the stirring was not truly constant, nothing burned, and nothing stuck. No guarantees if you’re using a non-non-stick pan. If you have some truffle oil on hand, a little drizzle will intensify the mushroomy flavor. This side dish is quite filling and hearty even on its own.
So don’t be scared of risotto. If I can make it, anyone can. If you’re serving bright veggies, the deep brown risotto makes an attractive background. And tastes great!