Monday, January 31, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

In December, I went to La Morra in Brookline Village for their $25 Sunday Prix fixe menu.  They change the menu each week, and the week that I went happened to be fried chicken week.  I am not a huge fan of fried chicken, so I wanted to double check with the server that the chicken was NOT like KFC (maybe more upscale fried chicken?) .... to which he replied, "Yes, exactly like KFC!".

Not the best way to sell in a meal.  Really?  Exactly like KFC?  That's like going to a solid Mexican joint and saying it's exactly like Taco Bell.

Either way, part of this Prix-fixe menu included a mushroom risotto, which was hands down some of the best risotto I have had in a long time.  Maybe ever.  Since this night in December, I have been desperately wanting to recreate this dish in my own kitchen.  I finally learned how on a winter weekend in NH, from the fabulous Mike DiMella.  Here's my adaptation from what I learned from him. (Mike knows how to cook- little recipe shunning bastard that he is. I want him to teach me more things.)

Mushroom Risotto:

  • 1 shallot, sliced/chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • chopped herbs, such as thyme and sage
  • 2 cups mushrooms, stems removed, chopped
  • arborio rice
  • chicken stock, about three cups
  • red wine (optional)
  • olive oil/butter as needed
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • butter 

Heat a saucepan or dutch oven on medium high heat.  Add butter (or oil, if you want to be on the healthy side) and saute the shallot, garlic and herbs for approximately three minutes.

Saute mushrooms in a separate skillet until soft.  Remove, set aside.

Add arborio rice to the shallot/herb/garlic mixture - I used approximately 1 1/2 cups, dry.  Add as you see fit and saute in the butter/shallot mixture.  Mix until the rice turns opaque from the oil/butter - should only take a few minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of red wine, or chicken stock.  I used leftover red wine.  The point is to cover the rice, and then some.  Reduce heat to medium.  Consistently stir, so the rice doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan.  Once the liquid reduces, add another 1/2 cup and continue to stir.  You should continue this process for approximately 20 - 25 minutes.  This gradual addition of liquid and reduction helps give the rice its creamy nature.

Once the rice is cooked Al dente, stir in mushrooms and then add in two tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.  These two ingredients are the key to making the risotto rich.

I was super impressed with a) how easy this was to make and b) how delicious it was.  I feel uber confident in my abilities to make any sort of risotto now.  It's not by any means a low-calorie meal, however, it is filling and incredibly tasty.

Love learning new things!! Enjoy!


  1. I decided the other week that shitakes make any meal better! So good. I recently learned to make risotto and now love it. Its all about love and patience. Yours looks delicious!

  2. Thanks Lady!! the type of mushrooms really do make all the difference!