Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

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Risotto has always intrigued me so much! I grew up in a big extended italian family, and pasta, risotto, and wine have always played a big role in my cooking journey! Since I was young I looked up to italian chef’s like my Grumpo/grandfather (homecook chef lol), Lidia Bastianich, Antonio Carluccio, and many many more. I would wake up early just to watch Lidia Bastianich on TV every Saturday! I dreamed to be her. I wanted to be where her hands had been and experience her cooking journey. In those young years I quickly realized how badly I wanted to learn to cook… so I did! I would watch video after video and beg my grandfather or grandmother to teach me how to cook the things they cooked. I was a sponge, I would watch everything and take it all in. My Grumpo passed away when I was 8 years old, which I felt like just wasn’t enough time with him in general or to learn from him. Our relationship was so special and I still cherish the times I learned from him and the memories we made cooking. Shortly after he passed away, my grandmother passed down some of his recipes to me and I have made it my life’s mission to recreate them the same way he did from his sicily born parents. I will continue to do so my whole life! Even though risotto wasn’t one of my Grumpo’s signature dishes. He loved all Italian food, so I know he would love this recipe!

Equipment for this recipe:

  • Saucepan
  • Frying pan
  • Stiring spoon

Ingredients for this recipe:

  • Olive oil
  • Shallot
  • Shiitake Mushroom
  • Salt
  • Arborio Rice
  • Dry White Wine
  • Chicken Broth
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pepper

About the ingredients:

In risotto you use Arborio rice. The reason for this is it’s a thicker more absorbing grain. Standard rice cannot make good risotto because it doesn’t absorb flavor and thicken the same way. Arborio rice is also very starchy. This is why when we cook risotto we add hot liquid or wine in small amounts slowly over time. It allows the starch to release slowly and gives the risotto a creamy texture. If you add cold liquid or too much liquid at a time, it can result in a grainy or gummy risotto! You don’t want this, so adding hot liquid slowly is a super important step to risotto so you can’t fast track it!

Delicious Proteins to Pair with your risotto:

  • Salmon
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Filet steak

How to make the risotto:

In order to make this risotto, you have to be prepared to watch it closely. At least until you get used to the flow of cooking it. Risotto is a dish that can easily turn out gummy or grainy and you don’t want that. One of the ways to prevent your risotto from being this way, is to have a hot chicken broth. So, the first step is to heat up your chicken broth in a sauce pan. You will want it to be hot but not boiling. Another important step in risotto is cooking down your shallots/onions (yes you can use onions if you don’t like shallots) and mushrooms. This is simple, but you have to watch them because you don’t want them to burn. Add your olive oil to your frying pan that’s over medium heat. Once it’s preheated, add your shallots and mushrooms to your pan and sauté until slightly browned for 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Then add 1/4 cup of your heated broth to your vegetables. Let this cook down for 3-4 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated off. Next, it’s time to add the rice to the vegetable mixture. You will add the rice without any kind of liquid first. This is to toast the rice. Stir it frequently so it doesn’t burn. Do this for about 2-3 minutes or until the rice is slightly toasted. Next, it’s time to add the wine!! (And drink the rest-lol) The wine helps take out the starch in the rice! Stir constantly and let the the wine cook down for at least 2-3 minutes. Remember you want to cook the alcohol off, but the rice will soak up a good flavor from the wine. Next, you will add in a 1/2 cup of your heated broth at a time. Make sure you don’t rush this process, because that could result in gummy or grainy risotto. Each time you add broth, cook it down until the rice is thick. With each time you repeat the process, you will notice that the rice becomes creamier and thicker. This is good and means the starch is releasing from the rice. I usually repeat this process 5 times but if you feel your rice is still not done you can continue this step one more time. Once this is done, take the risotto off the stove and add Parmesan and pepper to taste! Serve while hot!

How to store & reheat your risotto:

Risotto is best served right then and there, but if you have leftovers, you can store it in an airtight container and keep it in in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat you can put it in the microwave with a damp paper towel over the top of it for 45 seconds per serving. Or you can reheat on the stove over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of water per serving for about 3 minutes. Either way works great!

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