Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lemony Wild Mushroom Risotto

Risotto was a dish I strictly ordered in restaurants and was too intimidated to try to make, until last winter when my friend Mindy gave me a tutorial. Since then I've cooked up many a pot of risotto with very few mess ups. Just stick to the basic formula of slowly adding stock to the Arborio rice and stirring patiently for 20-25 minutes until the risotto reaches a creamy consistency. I love how easy putting together risotto is relatively easy, but guests are always so impressed whenever I serve it up.

Wild mushroom risotto is my absolute favorite, so I was intrigued when I came across a variation of it on epicurious.com - add lemon zest. I don't think I'll ever go back! The slight acidity and fragrant citrus aroma permeating the risotto brought out the earthiness of the morel, baby portabella, lobster, shitake, crimini and oyster mushroom mix.
I swear that once you master risotto once, you'll impress yourself time and time again.

2 cups hot water
1/2 oz dried mixed wild mushrooms (my mix included morel, baby portabella, lobster, shitake, crimini and oyster mushrooms)
1/2 cup quartered baby bella mushrooms
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 shallots, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 scallion stalk, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup of hot water. Warm chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups of water in sauce pan and maintain a low heat.  In medium-size skillet, warm 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat and add shallots and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes before adding baby bella mushrooms. Strain dried mushrooms and squeeze out excess water. Add excess water from soaking into chicken broth and re-hydrated mushrooms to skillet. Add rice to pan with an additional 1/2 tsp butter; stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in wine and stir for 1 minute until absorbed. Ladle in 1/2 cup simmering broth and cream; simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup of broth and stirring for around 20 minutes, until it is the consistency of a thick soup and the rice is still a bit firm. Stir in remaining butter, parsley and lemon zest. Season to taste. Sprinkle each serving with chopped scallions.

Proceed to high five yourself!

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