Wait…it’s a virtue?

Posted on March 17, 2015. Filed under: Main Course | Tags: , , |

If you know me, you know I do things pretty quickly. I’m not sure why, I’ve always wanted to do things faster than every one else. I was the first done with tests in school, I even try to get out first when I close the bar at work. I guess you can say that I’m not really that patient. My brain is moving quickly, which means I’M moving quickly. I’m like that when I’m cooking (weirdly enough, not when I’m waiting on other people to cook the food I’m serving). I generally turn the heat up a little higher so I can get things done faster (I need to do Chopped, 20 minute appetizer? I got that in the bag!) But, some things need to be done a little slower. I’m pretty good with dealing with things that take a long time to cook, but I’m not doing much; for instance, my 2 day turkey chilli. But, things like that are very inactive cooking time. Other things, you need to be more active. I forgot this when I decided to make risotto for dinner.

Risotto is one of those things that takes a lot of work. There are many steps and you need to be staring at it while it cooks to make sure everything is cooking correctly. Not going to lie, I was staring at it a little too much and it felt like I was watching paint dry. That being said, the hour and a half of work I put into this dish was WELL worth it.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that healthy food takes too much time; I get it. That’s why most of my recipes take under a half hour to make. People also say that good food isn’t healthy, that’s just a complete lie. While this dish is very creamy and full of starch, it’s not that bad for you.  Good food that is good for you needs just a few things: fresh ingredients and good spices. That’s it. You don’t need to cover it in fat, or deep fry it, or cover it in bacon (I know, I said it), you just need to learn how to season. I feel like a broken record, but seasoning makes the difference between ok food and really good food.

This recipe takes a while, but it’s worth it. Make it as a day off meal or a weekend dinner. It makes a lot so you can feed a ton of people and EVERYONE will like it. I used Alton Brown’s recipe, and he calls for wild mushrooms; I splurged and used shiitake. He also didn’t call for garlic, but you know I added a few cloves. Don’t be afraid of this; it seems difficult, but it really isn’t.

Asparagus and Shiitake Risotto

Here’s what to get from the store:

Fresh Mushrooms
Vegetable or beef broth
Arboiro rice (it’ll either be in the international section or the soup section…stupid Town and Country)
Dry white wine (I used Pinot)
Parmesean Cheese

Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
(From, Alton Brown)

6 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Arborio rice
5 ounces wild mushrooms, cooked and coarsely chopped, approximately 3/4 cup
7 ounces asparagus, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces, approximately 1 1/2 cups
2 ounces grated Parmesan, approximately 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  1. In an electric kettle or medium saucepan with a lid, combine chicken broth and white wine and heat just to simmering. Keep warm.
  2. In a large 3 to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains are translucent around the edges. Be careful not to allow the grains or the onions to brown.
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Add enough of the wine and chicken stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir or move the pan often, until the liquid is completely absorbed into rice. Once absorbed, add another amount of liquid just to cover the rice and continue stirring or moving as before. There should be just enough liquid left to repeat 1 more time. It should take approximately 35 to 40 minutes for all of the liquid to be absorbed. After the last addition of liquid has been mostly absorbed, add the mushrooms and asparagus and stir until risotto is creamy and asparagus is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Taste and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Alton uses ounces because they are more accurate, but if you don’t have a kitchen scale, don’t worry, I don’t have one either.

Try something different today, you may be surprised at what you end up liking.


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