Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mushroom risotto

I'm posting a recipe.

I know what you're thinking...Since when does she cook?

Well, in my pre-blog years--the wedded years--I cooked several times a week. Not because I loved cooking, but because if I didn't have something resembling dinner ready when he got home from work, there was sure to be a fight. I never really hated cooking either. I just hated that I was cooking to avoid some big fucking argument about why I wasn't cooking. So, when I became a single woman again, I quit cooking. Every meal I didn't cook was actually cause for a small celebration. Each night at 5:30, I thought, I'm not going to cook tonight, and no one gets to yell at me for that...yay divorce!

It turns out, it takes me awhile to heal. Here I am, almost two years later, and I'm just now returning to the kitchen. I'm going to tell this to the next person who asks me why I'm not dating anyone. Dating? Hell, I just started sauteing again.

Alright, enough with the blathering...on with the cooking. I've made this recipe twice now. It's turned out well both times.

It's an extremely simple mushroom risotto with my notes in italics. It goes like this...

5 to 6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots Except, I use vidalia onions because I like them.
1 teaspoon minced garlic Or, maybe a tablespoon.
12 ounces assorted mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced, stems removed I use shiitake and portobello mushrooms.
2 cups arborio rice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme Maria needs to start a mail-order service from her garden so that those of us who don't grow any can buy her extra. The thyme I bought at my local supermarket tonight was beyond pathetic.
1 cup dry white wine Or, whatever white wine you like to drink.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves I skip this.
1 to 2 teaspoons truffle oil, optional
No, not optional. Absolutely necessary. Spend the money on this flavored olive oil. It's worth it.

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to very low to keep hot.

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil and melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots (or onions) and garlic, and cook, stirring until fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until wilted and their liquid is evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in the thyme. Open the wine. Throw away the cork--you won't be needing it. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until nearly all evaporated. Add 3/4 cup of the stock, the salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the stock is nearly all evaporated. Continue adding more stock 1/2 cup at a time as the previous addition is nearly absorbed, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy.

This is going to take awhile. But, it's the best part of the whole process if you do it right. First, see that overhead light you turned on when you walked in the kitchen? Turn that off. You have a little light over your stove or sink, yes? That's all you need. We're not doing brain surgery here. Next, as long as we're standing here, stirring, we might as well listen to a little jazz. A little Diana Krall or Andrea Mann perhaps.

See that bottle of wine next to your pan? You threw away the cork, so now you have to find a way to empty the bottle. A little in the risotto, a little for the chef. Swing your hips back and forth as Ms. Mann or Ms. Krall sings, sip some wine, stir the risotto...I trust you'll figure it out.

Stir in cream, 1/2 cup of the cheese, and the parsley (if you're into parsley) and mix well.

Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. If desired, stir in truffle oil to taste. It's desired. Trust me.

And now, we eat the risotto and drink whatever wine might be left.'s to cooking for the fun of it.
Cheers, friends.


Anonymous said...

I love risotto,, and also use vidalia opnions whenever I can - they're the best.

But I was struck by the idea of cooking to avoid a fight - that would sure suck the joy right out of it. I'm sorry you ever had to deal with that.

.j.william. said...

mmm....even early on sunday morning that sounds creamy and warm and yummy.

maybe not the wine at this hour, though. That's why God invented mimosas.

Amanda said...

oh my gosh. I have never had this and yes, I will make it... but... maybe it has to wait until the next pay check :)

nina said...

It sounds familiar. After my first divorce I purposely didn't make my bed for over a year except for the times that I made it just to happily tear it apart in a deviantly delicious act of rebellion. Dinners made their departures right before I came out a few years ago. But I find myself looking forward to cooking again when gina moves in. Thanks for the recipe!


MmeBenaut said...

Bravo! I am sure this is delicious Terroni and the technique had me giggling of course!


YUM! Thank you so much for calling me last night. I feel so much better about everything, just from that few minutes of venting. *hug hug*

dive said...

Wonderful, T.
One of my all time favourite dishes. I'm glad you're cooking for pleasure again.
It's wild mushroom season over here so I'll be out hunting fungi over the next couple of weeks and then I'll post my own version.

Maria said...

I didn't even know there was such a thing as truffle oil. Because I am that pathetic when it comes to cooking. Yes. Me. I see the shock on the face.