Risotto is something new to me. By new, I mean it’s something I began preparing at home in the last ten years. What? That’s new? When you consider I’ve been a home-cook since the early 1970s, ten years is “recent”.
I’ve actually been cooking since I could pull a stool up to the stove in our family kitchen. With a little assistance from dear old Dad, I learned to help out rather early in life. Granted, that was back in the stone age when families cooked together, sat down to the family table together and actually had face-to-face conversations. By the time my sisters and I were teenagers, Dad would hold a weekly meeting to plan the following week’s menu. Each of us were given one day during the week to be completely responsible for the family meal, from selecting to cooking. Mom did the shopping. We did the cooking. I think that’s why I still plan meals in advance. Just habit.
Risotto isn’t something to throw together. A good risotto takes time and attention. I can promise you this, risotto is so worth the effort.
6 cups Chicken Stock
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 lb Button Mushrooms, sliced
4 sprigs Thyme
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter, divided
Kosher Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Bay Leaf
2 cups Arborio Rice
1/2 cup White Wine
3/4 cup frozen Peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring chicken stock to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
Finely chop the onion. Set aside. Peel and mince garlic. Set aside. Clean mushrooms, slice and set aside. Strip the leaves from the Thyme sprigs and set aside.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter, the mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme. Cook until the mushrooms have softened and are golden, about 4 more minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove mixture from the pot and set aside.
Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the pot and add the Arborio rice, stirring quickly. Sauté until the grains are well-coated and smell slightly toasty, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the wine has mostly absorbed.
With a ladle, add about 1 cup hot stock. Stirring often, cook until the rice has mostly absorbed liquid. Add remaining stock about 1 cup at a time, continuing to allow the rice to absorb each addition of stock before adding more. Stir often and cook until the risotto is al dente and creamy, without turning to mush. (You might not need all the stock. Usually 5 cups will do the trick, but having extra is better than running out. If it looks like you might run low anyway, warm a little more).
Add the mushroom mixture back into the rice. Stir in the peas, cover and let warm.
Meanwhile, chop the parsley. Once everything is warmed through, stir in Parmesan and garnish with parsley. Serve and enjoy.