Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Is that a fall chill I feel in the air? Whether real or imagined, September and back-to-school season are here, and my taste buds are on their way back towards fall foods even though summer isn't technically over yet. The earthy mushrooms in this risotto fit the bill perfectly to kick off the season.

  • 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 28 ounces vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 and 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 and 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup sherry*
1. In a bowl, combine the porcini and boiling water.  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.  Drain through a colander over a bowl, reserving the soaking liquid, and set the porcini aside.

2. Combine the reserved liquid in a saucepan with the remaining 1 and 1/2 cups water and the vegetable broth.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, but do not boil, then reduce heat and keep warm over low heat.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic; saute for 1 minute.  Add the shiitake mushrooms; saute for 2 minutes.  Stir in the porcini mushrooms, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

4. Begin adding the warm broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir constantly and wait for each portion to absorb before adding the next - you'll need 20 to 30 minutes total.  Stir in the sherry and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly; the liquid should be nearly absorbed.

The risotto will be best served immediately. A side salad of romaine lettuce rounds out the meal nicely.

If you want to stretch out summer a little longer, use summer fruits like peaches or blueberries in your dessert - or just serve bowlfuls of fresh fruit!

The dish pairs well with an equally earthy red wine. I chose an unfiltered Spanish red.

Unfiltered wine folks, they're a vegan's best friend.

*It can be very hard to find sherry that you're sure is vegan. Instead, I recommend the cooking sherry from Napa Valley Naturals.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (3/4 cup), Calories 255

Tasting Notes:
It's the sherry that really distinguishes this risotto, so if you like sherry, this recipe is for you. Personally, I'd decrease the amount to about 1/4 cup, and I'd also double the amount of mushrooms. Lovely earthy flavor though, just as I hoped, so no complaints there.


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