Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mushroom Risotto with Saffron

I absolutely love risotto –– especially mushroom risotto. My husband showed me how to cook it while we were dating which might have been when I fell in love with him! ; - )

Risotto is easy to make, but a bit time-consuming. Make sure to prep all your ingredients, including any items for side dishes before starting the risotto. Once you start cooking, you have to give the risotto your full attention or you'll end up having a plate of sticky cooked rice. You'll also want to serve it as soon as it's done. Hence having the side dishes prepped, so they don't require a bunch of work at the end. A delicious salad or some lightly steamed green beans go nicely with this dish. Risotto takes approximately 3o minutes to cook.

Getting Started: Serves 2 - 4
  • 4-6 cups of mushrooms slice in half or quarters depending on size, use a variety, in this one I used shitake, oyster and crimini
  • 4 tablespoons organic butter
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup dry white wine - optional
  • 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 2 pinches of saffron, chopped and dissolved in 1/2 cup beef broth - optional
  • 4-6 cups beef broth, you could also use chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 2-4 eggs depending on number of servings
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Large frying pan or wide pot
  • 2nd pot large enough to heat broth in
  • small pot or pan for poaching eggs
  • wooden stirring spoon
  • measuring cups
  • sharp knife
  • grater
  • paper towel
  • slotted spoon

Getting Started

First, heat broth to a low simmer. Then in your frying pan, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and saute, stirring constantly until onion has softened and started to turn translucent, then add arborio rice and saute briefly, stirring constantly until the rice just begins to turn translucent. Be careful to not brown the rice.

Pour in dry white wine, or if you are omitting this step, pour in 1/2 cup of broth. Stir constantly until wine or broth has cooked almost completely away, then add another 1/2 cup of broth. Continue this process for approximately 10 minutes, then add your saffron-infused broth and mushrooms. Make sure you are cooking your risotto at a lively simmer - medium high heat. The liquid needs to be absorbed into the rice while evaporating some, too.

Continue to stir and cook until liquid has nearly cooked away, and then back to adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time for another 10 - 15 minutes. Never let the risotto get dry during the process, but also do not drown the rice. Remember to stir continually as this is how you give risotto it's wonderful creamy texture. As you get close to the end, begin to taste your risotto. If it's still al dente, you know you need to add more broth and continue cooking. You want a soft and creamy, but not sticky or overly-cooked rice. Take your risotto off the burner and add 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoon butter, stir in then add salt and a bit of pepper to taste.

One addition I have, and this is truly not Italian, or at least I don't think it is, but poach an egg for each serving of risotto and place on top before serving. I know it might sound strange, but it's delicious and an excellent way to add some protein to this mostly vegetarian dish.

To poach an egg, heat 1" - 2" of water plus 2 tablespoons vinegar in a pot or pan.
Note: Have your pan with vinegar and water on the stove, ready to go, before you start cooking the risotto. When your risotto is 5 - 10 minutes away from being done, bring water to a boil, then reduce your heat so the water isn't boiling, but is still close to it. Break open your egg and either add it directly to the water or put into a small bowl or cup and "pour" the egg into the water. You want to make sure you don't break the yoke or have any unwanted eggshells. Cook egg for approximately 2 minutes. The yoke should still be runny. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place on a piece of paper towel to remove excess water. Season with a little salt and place on risotto.


  1. Therese, I LOVE your blog! Beautiful pictures and the train set is adorable! Looking forward to keeping up with you on your blog!

  2. Thank you Diana! Obviously it's new and still in works. I've been wanting to do a blog for years and finally told myself, JUST DO IT! You were part of my inspiration. I love what you've done with your blog and what you are able to share on it.


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