Like warm hug: Truffled mushroom (& leek) Risotto

Since we have a post what to do with

risotto leftovers, it seemed appropriate to have a post on how risotto gets made at

Grazing Bears HQ.  I was really intimidated by the idea of making risotto at home because I’ve seen enough Top Chef to know this is one dish where people get sent home.  Frankly, I’m not sure what the big deal is.

It’s easy, rich, easy to course correct if things are going your way, and totally delicious.

  •  1½ – 2 cups Arborio rice (I highly recommend Trader Joe’s for this purchase)
  • “Baby” Portobello mushrooms or other dark mushroom (not button)
  • 4-6 trimmed leeks, sliced into thin rounds
  • Pad of butter
  • Garlic
  • Shallots (2) or ½ very mild white onion
  • White wine
  • 3 cups Chicken/Veggie Stock
  • ¼ cup milk or heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • 2/3 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Black or White Truffle oil or shaved truffles (optional, but sortof)
  •  Small pot/small pan/large pan (preferably with high sides)

This is one recipe where advance prep does make things roll a bit faster. Dice up all your veggies so that they’re ready to roll.  If your mushrooms have tough stems (they sometimes do, don’t throw them away, put them in the stock!).

Speaking of, put your stock on low on the stove so it starts warming up.  Meanwhile, in a DRY pan with high sides, add your Arborio rice and put it on medium heat.  You will want to gently toast the Arborio rice, until it starts to turn a little golden yellow, even some brown grains mixed in.  You’ll also know its ready by the smell, suddenly it will blossom into this very nutty, earthy scent.

Once your risotto is ready, add a pad of butter and mix in some finely chopper shallots and garlic and stir.  The rice will “fry” a bit, but keep an eye on your garlic.  As soon as it looks soft, dump a generous amount of white wine over the whole concoction.  It’ll sizzle and shutter, make sure to keep stirring and scrape up the bottom.  From here on, risotto

making would be a bit dull. Now that your stock is warm, add about a ladleful over the rice and stir, once the liquid has been absorbed, repeat.  And repeat.  You’ll be amazed how much liquid the Arborio will absorb.  Unlike what they say on tv, you do NOT need to stir every single moment – stir regularly, not constantly.  Just make sure there’s enough liquid and that you have it on medium (not high) heat and you’ll be fine.

While adding liquid to your rice, you can get started on the mushrooms.  In a separate pan, on medium heat, sauté your mushrooms with some butter, salt, and garlic. Finish with a little of the white wine. Once they’re nice and tender, they will have likely release some liquid (plus the white wine) transfer the ‘shrooms to a bowl and set aside. Add the liquid to

your risotto.   In the same pan, you can also tenderize your leeks.  Again, add a little butter, salt and garlic, and on LOW heat, let them get tender, golden, and buttery soft.

 By now, it’s probably time to check the Arborio for doneness. Try a few grains- they should have a bit of a bite in the center, but not crunch.  Al dente.  Keep adding liquid and stirring regularly if it’s not quite there yet.

Once it’s very close, add a bit of milk or heavy cream (panna if you have it), and combine completely.

Add in your mushrooms and leeks, stir.  Add in grated parm, stir. Serve, drizzle with black truffle oil or a ¼ teaspoon of shaved truffle.  Have your mind blown.  We had this particular batch with a bit of himalyan salt plate grilled shrimp.

Stay for the leftovers: Arancini (Risotto Balls)

Arancini, or little oranges, are so named for their shaped and color.  I have another name for them, which may not be appropriate for this particular forum.

Risotto is one of my favorite, go to meals.  While a little time consuming to prepare, it’s a totally doable weeknight, one dish dinner.

The question with risotto has always been, what to do with the leftovers? It’s not an easy food to reheat, and if you bother, you’ll likely be rewarded with a lukewarm, goey mess.  Enter the arrancino.  (Honestly, sometimes I make risotto just so I can have these).

Start with leftover risotto, any flavor will suffice, here, we used left over baby Portobello mushroom risotto.  There are a lot of different recipes out there, but for once, I’ve taken the road of least resistance.

What you’ll need:

Left over risotto (at least a cup or more)

2 eggs

Worchester sauce

Panko (bread crumbs are ok too)

Mini mozzarella balls

Olive oil

Put a heavy skillet on low heat with about ¼ of an inch or less of olive oil.

Make an egg wash with two eggs, a little milk, a drizzle of Worchester sauce, salt and pepper.

Using your hands, take a small, small golf ball sized ball of the cold risotto and pack tightly.  Using your thumb, dig a little hole and drop in a mozzarella ball in.  Close it up, and pack tightly using both hands, making sure that the mozzarella is completely covered by rice.

Gently roll in the egg wash, and immediately roll in the bread crumbs or panko.  Repeat.

Once you have five or six, you can start pan frying them.  I used tongs, to gently turn them, though if you press too hard you’ll end up with little squares or tetrahedrons (or just misshapen, like mine).

Once they are golden brown on all sides, drain them on a paper towel and they are ready to enjoy.

You could in theory put any kind of cheese inside (like blue) that makes sense, or just skip that step.

The result is a deliciously crunchy exterior with warm, creamy (mushroomy) risotto, followed up a melty mozzarella center.  YUM!