Stir, stir, stir — I’ve learned that’s the name of the game when it comes to making risotto. I’ve also learned that risotto is a method — not a specific type of pasta or rice, which explains why my first attempts to make this dish failed before ever leaving the grocery store. Several times I walked up and down the pasta and ethnic food isles searching for “risotto” to no avail.
Most often, risotto is made from shorter-grained rices such as Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli,Maratelli, Padano, Roma, Vialone Nano, Carnaroli or Maratelli. My many passes along the starchy sectioned of the grocery store revealed that, near my house anyway, Arborio seems to be the easiest to find. I will admit that, since my risotto epiphany, I have discovered that packages of risotto are now available. I’m skeptical that these will render the same results, because risotto’s wonderfully creamy consistency is achieved through the process — slowly adding warm liquid to the rice. This allows it to be absorbed without making the starch mushy.
Now that we know what risotto is not — the doors are open to the method’s endless opportunities. You can exchange the chicken stock and champagne for just about any liquid — stocks, wine, butter and onions are the dish’s most common ingredients — making it a wonderful addition to any collection of boozipes.
Ingredients: Champagne Mushroom Risotto
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups champagne
- 8 oz Parmesian Reggano
- 4 oz fresh Mushrooms (I used a gourmet mix)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 oz white onion, diced*
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons truffle salt**
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/4 cups short grain rice (Arborio is best)
Directions: Champagne Mushroom Risotto
1) Add champagne to a medium saucepan. Heat champagne until simmering, add mushrooms. Let simmer at medium heat until they’ve browned, then remove.
2) 3) After you’ve removed the mushrooms from the first pan, add in the chicken stock and stir in cheese until dissolved.
5) Then, add one cup of warm the chicken stock mixture to the rice and stir until absorbed. When all the liquid has been absorbed, add another scoop of the champagne/chicken stock mixture to rice and stir until absorbed. Make sure the rice has absorbed all liquid before adding more. Repeat this process of adding liquid and stirring until all of chicken stock is gone. This slow cooking process keeps the grains from splitting so the rice is creamy, not mushy.
6) When you’ve stirred all the the liquid mixture into the rice pan, add the cooked mushrooms, onions and spices and stir together. Add the last teaspoon of the truffle salt.
7) Serve hot and enjoy!
* The original recipe called for an entire onion. I used 3oz. — enough to fill a small ramiken — however I would use less next time. I’m kind-of a wimp when it comes to onions and, although the end result was delicious, the the risotto still had more of an “oniony” taste than I prefer.
** The original recipe called for a whole Tablespoon of truffle salt — I reduced this to two teaspoons, but will use only one, maybe less, the next time I make this recipe.