Zack makes a killer risotto. We switch up the ingredients depending on the season and what looks good in the grocery store. In the past, we've used lemon and asparagus or just red wine, to name a couple. For this meal, we decided on mushrooms.
Here's what you need:
1 cup Arborio rice
1.5 lb mushrooms (we used a mix of Shitake and Baby Portabella)
8 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic
1/4-1/2 cup dry white wine (we used Chardonnay)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 Tbsp butter, divided
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Here's what you do:
Start by cleaning your mushrooms and removing the stems. You just want to gently wipe them with a damp paper towel. Slice the mushrooms up and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, heat 8 cups of chicken stock over medium-low heat. You don't want it to boil, just heat through.
Dice the shallots. Smash your garlic. You are going to take the garlic out, so you want to keep it whole. We'll just be flavoring the oil with it.
Heat the largest skillet you own to just above medium heat. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. Let the butter melt and clarify before adding anything else.
Toss your mushrooms in the pan and let them saute for 10-15 minutes.
They should soften, brown and shrink in size. Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.
Drop in the smashed garlic and let that brown up. Once the garlic has softened and browned, remove from the pan.
Toss in the shallot and let that simmer for a few minutes. You want the shallots to be opaque and tender.
Add the Arborio rice to the pan with the shallots. Stir that around to coat the rice completely with the oil. You want to toast the rice a bit in the pan before adding the liquid. Stir it occasionally to move the rice and prevent it from getting crispy.
After the rice toasts for a couple of minutes, cover it with about a 1/4 cup of dry white wine. Our wine of choice this time was Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay.
Stir that around and let the wine absorb into the rice. It will take a couple of minutes.
Pour two ladles of the warm chicken stock into the risotto and stir almost constantly until it absorbs.
This is what it should look like when you add the stock. Let it cook down to where you can just barely see the top of the rice.
Your risotto will look like this when it's ready to have more stock added:
Once the liquid absorbs, add two more ladles - stirring constantly.
With the third round of chicken stock, add your mushrooms back in the pan with the risotto.
After the third addition of stock absorbs, taste the risotto every five minutes until the risotto is no longer crispy. It should be tender and creamy.
Continue stirring, adding stock, stirring, etc. until your reach a creamy consistency. It should spread around the plate, not sit in a big clump.
6 or 7 cups of chicken stock might work for you. Zack had to use 8 cups this time, but each time seems to be a little different. This is why tasting is so important.
Once you're finished cooking the risotto, remove from the heat and stir in the grated Parmesan and 3 tablespoons of butter.
Making risotto does take some time, and needs a lot of babysitting, however, we think it's worth it. The end result is so incredibly tasty! It helps to have two cooks in the kitchen so one can be stirring the risotto and the other can be finishing up the rest of the meal, like maybe the seared scallops we paired with it.