19 March 2010

And the Survey Said Basmati Rice, But I Want Risotto!

I have been wondering what rice folks prefer. Silent Bob went shopping with me last week and gave me a hard time about the cost of rice ... particularly the basmati brand that I prefer. I asked him what rice he would buy and he went straight for the domestic long-grain made by a certain gentleman with Uncle in front of his name. Now, there's nothing wrong with domestic long-grain white rice, but it's pretty plain. I like basmati because of the subtle nuttiness it has. Is nuttiness the right term, I wonder? It will have to do ... maybe earthiness, maybe fiber ... nuttiness! Yes, that's it exactly. Whatever the descriptive adjectives, basmati is my 'go to' rice of preference.  I tend to cook our rice just until it has softened... no mushiness allowed in our house. I also tend to add things to our rice ... veggies, a sauce, spices. Because of that practice, I think basmati holds up better and carries its own when blended with other ingredients... most times. Which leads me to today's recipe ...

Today, I have some beautiful shitakes and baby portobellas that need to be used while they are at their best. In honor of the survey results, I'm offering a recipe for Mushroom Risotto. Today, though, it's the runner-up ... arborio rice that's getting center stage. There will be a rich broth and fresh flat-leaf parsley coarsely chopped and added at the last minute for some crunch. There's fresh Parmesan and my favorite creaming agent ... mascarpone cheese. This is a rich risotto ... and I love it. I'm also pounding out some chicken breasts and making lemon chicken paillards... easy and tasty. I only wish that I could have some roasted asparagus to round out the flavors... but it's still coming from Peru and that's too far away for me... I guess I'll have to settle for some roasted acorn squash ... the last from the garden.

Perhaps you have a pork tenderloin or veal cutlets or a sweet little steak for your dinner... this risotto will go nicely all around... and if you're vegetarian, substitute the broth with vegetable stock and have it with a spinach salad ... that, too, will suffice!  At any rate, enjoy!

Shitake and Baby Portabello Risotto - printer friendly

Mushroom Risotto


1 large shallot, small dice
4 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, small chop
5 oz. shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 ¼ c. Arborio rice
½ c. dry white wine
4 c. chicken broth
2 tbsp. scallions, thinly sliced
½ c. flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
2 generous tbsp. Mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
kosher salt & pepper, to taste

Making the Risotto:

In a large heavy saucepan, sauté the shallot in the olive oil until it glistens.

When the shallots are semi-transparent, add the mushrooms and continue cooking to brown the edges (about 4 minutes).

Add the Arborio rice and continue sauté until the rice begins to brown also.

Step back and add the white wine, stir to incorporate. Lower the heat to a good simmer and allow it to be absorbed, stirring frequently.

Add one cup of chicken broth at a time and continue stirring frequently … when the broth is almost absorbed, add another cup of broth. When you’re down to the last cup of broth, begin tasting to gauge the level of ‘al dente’ that your prefer. Add a bit of that last cup of broth at a time.

When the rice is the perfect ‘al dente’, add the scallions, Parmesan, and Mascarpone. Stir to melt the cheeses and incorporate the scallions. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

Fold in the Italian parsley at the last minute and spoon the risotto into an attractive bowl for serving… immediately. While enjoying, debate the true spelling of the 'P' mushrooms ... portobello, portabello, portabella, what!!!!?????


  1. Susan, it's risotto for me every time! LOL, we curently have in our house: Basmati rice, brown rice (nice and nutty!), red rice, black rice, arborio rice, wild rice and sushi rice. Can you tell I'm avoiding wheat???

    Risotto with mushrooms is one of my favorites. Yours looks wonderful.

  2. Susan @ Kate20/3/10 9:34 PM

    Okay, Kate! Now you have me curious... how do you do your mushroom risotto? And... tell us about red rice and black rice! I've never seen these offered in our supers...


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