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Mushroom & Leek Risotto

January 17, 2011

by Emily

I love that risotto dishes offer a similar comfort food appeal as, say, mashed potatoes or mac ‘n cheese, but also have the ability to function as an entire, well-balanced meal. I have noticed that risotto is usually so satisfying because it is able to incorporate a vegetable or two without compromising a rich and pleasing delivery … which is often enhanced by cheese!

On a whim, I purchased some beautiful leeks at the grocery store and happened to have some mushrooms on hand, so I had the perfect beginnings of a hearty, wintertime risotto. If leeks and mushrooms aren’t your thing, you could easily substitute asparagus and chives and a little lemon – there are so many ways to make a risotto recipe your own that you shouldn’t feel limited!  It can be a fantastic way to use up some produce crowding your fridge.

I have to warn you – since I have made this mistake before! – risotto is generally not the best dinner party dish as it requires constant stirring and attention. So while it isn’t hard to make to make a good risotto, you do have to be patient. So perhaps it would be better to cozy up to this recipe with a large glass of wine, a best bud, and some Hollywood Housewives?  Just a suggestion…

Mushroom and Leek Risotto
adapted (a touch) from The Kitchn

1 lb white arborio rice/risotto
2 cups of mushrooms, your choice
1 shallot, chopped
1 large leek, washed and sliced
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
3+ cups liquid of your choice – vegetable, chicken, or beef broth
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
salt & pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, saute the leek and shallot in the butter or oil over medium heat until soft. Add fresh sliced mushrooms and saute until nicely browned. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Add dry risotto and stir until evenly coated. Bring pot to medium-high heat and add 2 cups of the liquid, stirring frequently, taking care not to let the risotto stick. Note: you want to have a slow boil going, not a rollicking boil or a simmer.

As the risotto cooks, it will slowly absorb the liquid. Once the initial two cups have been fully absorbed, add a half cup of additional liquid at a time, stirring frequently. This could take 20 or so minutes. If you’ve used up all your liquid and the risotto is still too hard, add about half a cup of additional liquid – more broth or water. This might be a sign your heat is too high, so turn it down a little.  The risotto is done when it is al dente.
Salt and pepper to taste and serve with grated Parmesan.

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