Dried mushroom and goat cheese risotto

Go with the grain

Originally appeared in the September 23, 2010 edition of the Southside Times.

In case you didn’t know, September is national honey month, national all-American breakfast month, national papaya month, organic harvest month, chicken month, and hug-a-Texas-chef month.  When I find out when hug-a-Hoosier-chef month is I’ll let you know.  But among other vittles being commemorated this month, September also happens to be national mushroom and national rice month.  As such, I thought sharing a recipe spotlighting both would be apropos.  Read more after the jump:The warm, rich, and creamy signatures of risotto is an ideal way to ease into the cooler temperatures and cozier food.

For risottos, use short- to medium-grain rice; arborio is dependable and the easiest to find, but you can also use carnaroli, roma, or vialone nano.  In part, the quality of the rice is based on how much liquid it absorbs, which can be 3 to 4 times the grain’s volume.

Keep these two things in mind:  1) you need high-quality stock; and 2) while risottos are relatively cook-friendly, they require patience and finesse, sometimes 25 to 30 minutes of stirring and stovetop vigilance.

In your kitchen, a successful risotto guarantees that hug-a-Hoosier chef month may arrive sooner than you think.

Dried mushroom and goat cheese risotto

Serves 8 as first course, or 4 as main course

  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice
  • 2 ¼ cups hot water (or more)
  • 3 cups hot chicken stock (or more)
  • ¾ cup dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 ¼ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry vermouth
  • ¼ cup sliced fresh mushrooms of your choice
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ ounce goat cheese, crumbled
  • To taste, kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • To taste, grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Place dried mushrooms in hot water, allowing mushrooms to rehydrate.  When softened and pliable, remove mushrooms and pour heated soaking liquid (roughly 2 cups should remain) into hot chicken stock.  Chop rehydrated mushrooms and set aside.

2.  Heat oil in a medium pan or saucepot.  Add onion and garlic and sweat until translucent (do not let them burn).  Add rice and stir to coat the grains with hot fat.  Cook for several minutes until rice becomes slightly opaque.

3.  Pour in vermouth and allow to reduce.  When nearly absorbed, add in several ladlefuls of hot stock mixture.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then lower heat and continue to cook and stir until risotto has absorbed liquid.  Stir in another ladle of stock and repeat process.  Do this until risotto is plump and just tender but not soft (about 15 – 20 minutes).  You may use all the liquid, but add more if needed.

4.  Adjust seasoning with kosher salt and pepper.  Take risotto off heat and stir in fresh mushrooms and goat cheese.  Serve immediately, garnishing each portion with grated Parmesan cheese.

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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