Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mushroom Risotto on Repeat

There are few dishes I make repeatedly. Sure, I detest boredom of the palette as much as the next foodie, and a shortened attention span runs in my American eighties-baby blood. When something does get repeat play, it is guaranteed to be simple, relatively quick, and full of basic ingredients found in a mid-week kitchen.

Chicken fajitas is one such recipe that's been in the rotation for years. Another is a fennel-orange salad - as a side or a quick brekkie, it's been hitting the spot for quite some time. And ever since I convinced a cute Sicilian to teach me a local dish, a saffrony pasta with sardines has been my cupboard staple favourite. And in the colder months of the year, butternut squash with curried lentils can be found in my bowl.

I realized I've made mushroom risotto a total of three just as many weeks. I had to share.

A good-quality mix of frozen mushrooms makes this all too easy to start a pot going at a moments notice. Having a bottle of Marsala in the kitchen is invaluable, and it really rocks a risotto.

The recipe is fairly flexible allowing for substitutions. Focus on the best quality of everything, a slow stirring of the pot, and a creamy (but still firm) plate of fragrant shroomy rice is sure to develop.

Recipe: Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from "Cook with Jamie"
Serves 3-4
Time 1 hour
Eat with Pinot Noir

1 Tb olive oil
handful of cubed pancetta OR 1 Tb butter
1/2 onion, minced
1 shallot, minced
stalks of 1 fennel (or 2 stalks celery)
1 1/3 cup (300g) arborio rice 
1/2 cup Marsala
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 large handfuls mixed mushrooms
3 1/2 cups (850ml) vegetable/chicken broth
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon
ground pepper
good extra virgin olive oil
freshly grated Parmesan

1) Heat up the broth and keep on low.

2) Heat the oil and pancetta (or butter) in a large pot on low heat. Slowly cook the minced onion, shallot, and fennel. After 10 mins, when onions are nearly clear, stir in the rice to coat with oil. Splash in the Marsala and let it steam up for a moment. Add the garlic, thyme, and mushrooms. Stir until liquids have been absorbed.

3) Now, find a glass of wine to sip, and a friend to chat with, so you can slowly stir in the broth one ladle at a time. It should take a good 30 plus minutes. After every ladle (or half-cup) stir until the liquid is absorbed, and then add a bit more.

4) When creamy, try the rice, it should still have it's shape and texture, but not be crunchy and undercooked. If it tastes good to you, it's done. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, and pepper (more salt if needed).

5) Serve with a splash of olive oil and a good pile of Parmesan.

- Jo


  1. This looks absolutely delicious. Would love for you to share your gorgeous pictures with us at

  2. Hi Teacher! I finally found your blog!
    I wanted to get you compliments, I love your recipies and also your photos! I think that I'll take inspiration from here for my next dinner with my friends!
    Sorry for my english (google translator is helping me! hihihi :)).

    see you on Tuesday!


    1. ciao Flavia! I'm glad you found it!! anytime you want to suggest some classic italian dish, i'd love to hear's my favourite topic for English lessons, if you can't tell already :) And your English is beautiful!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...