I usually don’t blog about recipes, but my first attempt at cooking risotto is an accomplishment I just have to share. The outcome was superb (if I do say so myself) and I learned that creating risotto is not a privilege reserved for exalted chefs in high-end restaurants. I also want to share it because, if you live anywhere near a natural area, you might be able to gather one of the ingredients yourself. (Never fear, however, there is a non-foraging ingredient option.)
I wanted to learn how to make risotto because I had a divine offering of it a few months ago in a restaurant. As the daughter of a college home economics major who taught me everything she knows (thanks mom!), I am handy around the kitchen. But risotto seemed daunting – not anything mere mortals could cook.
Alas, I missed that restaurant risotto – had dreams about it – so I decided to give it a shot and searched the internet for recipes. I found one for mushroom risotto, but I changed it a bit to my preferences and to include the wild leeks currently growing in “my” local woods in abundance.
If you live south of Minnesota, you might know wild leeks as ramps. They look like small scallions and have the same oniony taste. Of course, I don’t expect you, dear readers, to scour the woods for an ingredient if you’re not sure what it is. Please only use leeks/ramps if you are sure they are leeks/ramps. You can always use chives or scallions instead. And you don’t have to rip the whole plant from the ground. You can just use the leaves. That way, the plants will regrow next spring.
Obligatory public safety message aside, this recipe turned out great – Nirvana reached! It takes A LOT of mushrooms, though, so be forewarned. This version makes six servings. I am still eating leftovers, which aren’t as good as the freshly cooked batch, but you won’t hear me complaining too loudly.
Mushroom and Wild Leek Risotto
4-1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
4 T olive oil, divided
1 pound Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
A handful of wild leek leaves (10-12), coarsely chopped (or 3 T chopped chives)
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked
½ cup white cooking wine (or rice cooking wine, white)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
4 T butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Warm the broth in a large saucepan over low heat.
Warm 3 T olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sir in the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and their liquid. Set aside.
Add 1 T olive oil to skillet and stir in the leeks. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil for about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale golden color, pour in the wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add a ½ cup of broth to the rice and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth ½ cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente – about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in mushrooms and their liquid, butter and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings. Perfect complement for grilled meats and chicken dishes.