Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dried Mushroom Risotto

So some guy sent me this box of assorted dried mushrooms, and I don't really know what to do with it...Coming from anyone but a food blogger, that would be a rather curious statement...but Marx Foods wanted people to try their dried mushrooms, and I'm always a willing volunteer! I received a box with 5 little baggies of dried mushroom samples: Porcini, Lobster, Black Trumpet, Morel, and Chanterelle mushrooms, all for me to play with!

The only question is, what to make? I love mushrooms, but dried mushrooms had me in a bit of a quandary.

It's too hot out for a rich mushroom soup...and I like mushrooms in salad, but I wasn't sure how dried mushrooms would behave in that I went for risotto.

Risotto has always been one of my go-to dinners. Once you know how to make it the possibilities are endless. Any ingredients you might put in a salad or omelet would be good in risotto. It takes longer to cook than regular rice, and because you stir it as it cooks, the resulting dish has a really nice creamy texture. At restaurants risotto is often full of cream and cheese, but I've found that if you cook it right, just a sprinkling of cheese on top is enough to make it completely satisfying.

So here it is, my very own original recipe:

Dried Mushroom Risotto (made possible by Marx Foods)
- Serves 2
1/2 cup assorted dried mushrooms
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1/4 cup frozen peas
5 chicken meatballs (optional, I had some from Trader Joe's on hand)
1/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
feta cheese for sprinkling on top

  1. Add the mushrooms to the chicken broth in a pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn the stove off, and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Scoop out mushrooms, roughly chop them, and set aside (so you can easily use the mushroom-y chicken stock to cook the rice).
  2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, garlic, and rice and saute until the rice looks toasted (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add 1 cup chicken broth to the rice and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the rice cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  4. Repeat step 3 until the rice is almost done. You want it to be al dente (i.e. a tiny bit chewy). You may have to add more liquid than the 4 cups...or you may need less. It just depends. (This is where the practice part comes in.)
  5. Add spinach, mushrooms, peas, and meatballs to the risotto and cook for another couple minutes.
  6. Serve with tomatoes and feta cheese sprinkled on top.
Hope you like it!