Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Recipe: Mushroom Risotto with Cambozola

The extra-special touch to this risotto is the grilled portabellos and cambozola cheese. If you cannot find Cambozola, go for a good Gorgonzola. If you don't like blue cheese, I am sure Camembert would be delicious too. The hardest part of risotto is the stirring involved (get ready to have an overdeveloped bicep!) so I recommend grabbing a good friend who can alternate with you or at least keep you company. The best part is the creamy, rich mushroom flavour. And the fact that this is a great recipe for a large group. I just made it for 12 people, and got great feedback.

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
1 cup boiling water
8 -10 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 teaspoons olive oil or butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
11/2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 cup sliced portabello mushrooms (around 1 large)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound uncooked Arborio rice (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup white wine (Chardonnay)
2/3 cups shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped chives
6 pieces Cambozola cheese cut into 4 inch long pieces (1/2 inch thick)

2 portabello mushroom caps
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Servings: 6 as a main course

Combine porcini mushrooms and boiling water in a bowl. Cover and let stand 15 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid.

Grill portabello mushrooms: Cut a 1/8 criss-cross pattern into the top of the portabello mushroom caps. Brush each with olive oil and place on grill or bbq. Grill for approximately 5 minutes each side or until mushroom is tender. Set aside, let cool and cut into 6 slices. Just before risotto is done, warm up in a saucepan with a teaspoon of butter.

Combine reserved mushroom liquid and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring remaining broth mixture to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat oil or butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic, sauté 1 minute. Add button and portabello mushrooms, and sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in porcini mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of the mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about every 3-5 minutes). This can take around 1 to 1.5 hours. Stir in wine, and cook for 3 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. You will need to taste when the risotto is done. This means it should be tender without any resistance to the bite.
When finished, add Parmesan cheese to risotto and stir until melted. Around 30 seconds to a minute.

Serve risotto in 6 bowls, top with two slices of grilled portabello mushrooms and 1 slice of the Cambozola cheese. Add a 1 teaspoon of chives on top as a garnish. Let sit for 1 minute or until Cambozola has started to melt.
Now you can dig in!

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