Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thursday, Aug 26th - Portabella and Crimini Mushroom and Pea Risotto

Portabella and Crimini Mushroom Pea Risotto
It was rather chilly tonight, relatively speaking.  It dropped below 20C.  What better excuse than to make a Risotto.  Well, there is that and the fact that we can do it in our sleep which is great when we get back home late.

Portabella and Crimini Mushroom and Pea Risotto

2 Portabella Mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
1 c Crimini Mushrooms, brushed and sliced
1 c frozen or fresh Peas
1 c Arborio Rice
1 c Dry White Wine
1 1/2 l Vegetable Broth
1 Shallot, minced
3-4 T Olive Oil
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
1 sprig fresh Oregano
2 T fresh chopped Basil
2 T Butter
1/4-1/2 c grated Parmesan Cheese, (the REAL stuff, nothing in a Green plastic container you can keep at room temperature)
2 T fresh Parsley, chopped (optional garnish)

If you are using Frozen Peas, sit them in a bowl of cold water now.  Don't nuke them.  You want them to have some bite and colour. Get out your favourite Wooden spoon.  There is no scientific reason for it as there is in Candy making. 

In a small sauce pan, heat the Broth.  Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to super low and set aside with your ladle sitting in it.

The Crimini Mushrooms or Brown button, they have more flavour, just need a thorough brushing.  Slice the very end of the stem off and slice into 1/2 cm.  The Portabella Mushrooms are different.  Brush the caps thoroughly.  Pull the whole stem out.  You will not use it.  You could save it in the freezer for a Vegetable stock.  Now, scoop out all the Gills inside the Cap.  You do not have to but they will fall out during cooking and make your dish look 'dirty'.  Slice into 3/4 cm slices.

In a large pan, heat 1 - 2 T Olive Oil on High.  Sautee the Mushrooms until golden brown. 5-10 minutes.  Do not move around too much.  Let brown on one side before moving.  If you move them too soon or too much they'll start to steam.  It isn't the end of the world but it will not give you the same round flavour. Set the Mushroom aside on a plate.  They usually go on the plate I like to eat off of so I get all the Mushroomy goodness. 

In the same pan, add 1-2 T Olive Oil on Medium.  Sautee the shallot until softened.  Add the Rice and ensure that all the grains are coated and glistening.  You may need to add a touch more Oil.  Stir for a minute or so.  Add the Wine by pouring around the pan.  Stir and stir. 

Risotto is relatively quick but it needs your constant presence.  I have a penchant for food that takes time and your full attention.  It forces you to shut down and be present.  You need to be at the stove for the next 35 minutes.  If you need to do other things, do as I do and have your laptop nearby for whatever update you need to make or tag team the stirring. :^D

Turn the heat down to Medium Low.  You want steam to be rising but you do not want bubbling or steaming.  This is the easy and comfort method of doing this.  There is no tossing or throwing impossible heights out of the pot.  No.  Just stir and stir.  When most of the wine is absorbed, add 1 ladle of Broth.  Stir and stir. Add the Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano, whole sprigs. You will need to play with the heat to keep it at the low level you want.  When most of the Broth is absorbed, add another ladle.  When is that?  When you can draw a mote or line down the middle of your pan and the liquid and rice does not close up on itself immediately.  Stir and stir.  Repeat.

At around 30-35 minutes, test the rice.  If it is nearly there, then proceed to the next step.  Otherwise continue adding broth.  You may need more broth or you may need less.  Nearly there means it feels tender yet still a little bite. It is not hard in the middle and sticks impossibly in the crevasses of your molars.  I like it softer than D but not mushy.

Remove the Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano sprigs.  Add the mushrooms back and add the Peas and Basil.  Add 1 ladle of broth and stir and stir until absorbed.  Add the Parmesan and incorporate well.  Spread the Risotto evenly out in the pan.  Add 1/2-1 ladle of broth on top.  Add the Butter in pieces over the top.  Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.  We do not have a cover big enough for our large pan so we use our large wok.

Serve with additional Parmesan on top.  Add optional chopped Parsley and a drizzle of Truffle oil.


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