- Jessica Hammonds' love for cooking stems from her even greater love, eating. When not supervising grow house activities at Everything Mushrooms, she spends her time catering for clients around town as head bbqnista at Organicism Farms and Foods and chef-collaborator in the Moveable Feast Supper Club. Her experience farming mushrooms complements a bold and adventurous culinary style focusing on fresh, local ingredients. Check this space often for tasty mushroom recipes, preparation suggestions, and advice on how to get the best from your shrooms.
Ok, people. So, today we are going to talk about cooking something that is a little intimidating for a lot of folks. For years, television chefs have been informing home cooks that this dish is “NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN DO ON YOUR OWN! Give up now! Come to our restaurants and spend loads of money for a plate of this!” What am I talking about, you wonder? I’m talking about RISOTTO! Not only that, but mushroom risotto! Have I lost you yet?
Now, I’m hoping that you are one of these people who, like me, looked at their televisions with the smarty pants chefs and yelled “you don’t tell me what to do!” and proceeded to try their hand at making some risotto. If that’s the case, you realize how wonderfully easy this creamy rice dish can be with just a little patience. If you are still wary, bear with me. We are all in this together.
So today, we are all going to learn about *deep breath* oyster mushroom and arugula risotto. This beautifully earthy, bright green dish has loads of flavor and is simple enough to make Gordon Ramsay say “My, God!” (in a good way, not a dish smashing way). Best of all, if you feel extra frisky, the oyster mushrooms and arugula are super easy to grow yourself! But, one thing at a time, now.
So, let’s get started, shall we? The main skills involved in making risotto are pouring and stirring. Not so hard, right? So first of all, you’re going to toss some diced onion and your rice in a pan with some oil. You want to saute this until the rice starts to get a bit translucent. We’re breaking down starches here, people! This puts the creaminess in risotto.
While your rice is sauteing, go ahead and make your arugula paste in the food processor. This is going to add a great peppery flavor and will make your risotto bright green! Garlic, butter, arugula, mmmmmmm…….
So, now for all that pouring and stirring we were talking about. Once your rice has gotten to be all nice and translucent-y, go ahead and pour in your wine. No, not the wine you are drinking. The wine in your measuring cup.
Now, this is where that part about the patience comes in. Simmer your rice-liquid mixture, stirring frequently, until ALL the liquid has cooked into the rice. That wasn’t so bad, right? Now do it three more times, but with chicken stock. Make sure that the liquid cooks completely off before you add more. Once you’ve added in the last of the liquid, throw in your chopped mushrooms and mix. Remember, patience is a virtue that is rewarded with delicious eating.
Smelling good, huh? Don’t worry, we’re almost there. Quit sneaking bites of the arugula paste, and put it in the pan with the risotto. Stir it in until completely mixed.
Simmer your risotto for just a couple more minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through and the risotto is nice and piping hot. Now, EAT! This is great as an appetizer, side dish, or main dish. Try it with a little parmesan on top.
You are now ready to face your fear, and prepare some amazingly delicious risotto. Go! Cook! Make me proud!
Serves 2-4 people
½ pound freshly picked oyster mushrooms, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup short grain white rice
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ small red onion, diced
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup fresh baby arugula
2 garlic cloves, diced
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and diced onion. Saute until rice begins to become opaque. Approximately 2 minutes.
While rice cooks, place butter, arugula, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
Pour the wine into the pan with the rice and onions. Simmer, stirring frequently, until liquid is almost completely gone. Add your stock 1 cup at a time, cooking until liquid is completely gone each time. Always make sure liquid has completely reduced and absorbed before adding more. Once all the liquid has been added and cooked down, add chopped mushrooms, stirring to mix.
Add arugula paste to the risotto. Stir until completely mixed. Simmer approximately 2 more minutes until mushrooms are cooked and risotto is warmed through. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy.
Now, eat it up! You deserve it!