Risotto with Mushrooms & Aspragus



Wait! Before you go because, “you don’t like mushrooms”, we need to talk. 

I hate mushrooms. Best way to ruin a great pizza? Mushrooms. 

But this is different, friends. I promise. The mushrooms in this recipe are chopped so fine and they lend just the dreamiest flavor to this dish. Pretend it’s bacon. Heck, toss some bacon in this dish (I’ve done it, trust me. It’s amazing). Whatever you have to do to get over the idea that you don’t care for mushrooms, do it in order to make and love this dish. 

Guys….even the kids ate it. K? Just go there with me. 

I’m not sure how I’ve been a grown adult for this long and have never made risotto, but this was a first for me and now I’m hooked. I made this for a friend yesterday and then came home and made another batch for dinner. And it’s versatile. For instance, this is actually made with peas but I was out (surprise!), so the asparagus was my substitute. I have made this with chopped chicken and bacon to make it heartier and without meat, it’s a dish for all your vegetarian friends. Risotto is made with arborio rice so there’s no gluten either, yay! Serve it with a great salad and some kind of bread and it’s a main dish. Serve it with fish or chicken or steak and it’s the yummiest side dish ever. 

Finally, the test of all great dishes, the leftovers are amazing. When I make this, I start dreaming of the leftovers the night before and then look forward to it all day. It just makes me a happier person. A better mom. A better wife. Yes, I just said that risotto makes me a better person. Truth. 

Yes, risotto is somewhat of a labor of love. It’s not difficult, it just requires lots of stirring. It also requires you to open a bottle of wine, so you might as well have a glass while you’re stirring. In other words, “sorry sweetie, I can’t come play legos for the hundredth hour today, I’m stirring dinner…”  Get me? Important stuff here. 

The following pictures are all courtesy of my iPhone, I’ve had a crazy couple weeks and walking all the way upstairs to get the DSLR seemed like more work than I was willing to put into this. After all, I was stirring….

Heat up a bunch of chicken broth (no low sodium stuff here guys, just trust me.) I used water and chicken bouillon because….life. Chop up some dried porcini mushrooms. Now, if you’re new to mushroom consumption, like me, you’ll be wondering where to locate these mushrooms. Just ask someone in the deli at Kroger. Hint: they aren’t with the fresh mushrooms. They are more with the fresh spices or nuts. If your store is out of dried porcini mushrooms, dried shiitake mushrooms work beautifully as well. 

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When your broth is steaming, dump your mushrooms in a small bowl and add 1/4 cup hot chicken broth and just let it sit for 5 minutes. 

Now steam some fresh aspragus. Like, dump it in a glass dish, add two tablespoons of water, and microwave mostly covered for two minutes. It’s so easy. Then dump into a ice bath so they quit cooking and won’t get soggy.

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Dry the asparagus in some paper towels and move on with your life.

Melt some butter and add some olive oil.

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Add some chopped onions. I’m not sure about you but for me, chopping onions is five minutes of my life I’ll never get back so I buy them chopped and frozen.

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When your onions are translucent and tender, around 8 minutes, add some garlic and your mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. 

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Now toss in your arborio rice and stir all up together. Let the rice toast in the oil for a couple minutes before you add some dry white wine. I must have been distracted by one of my monkey children that I foolishly took to the store with me and accidentally grabbed Moscato. I don’t know about you but I just cannot bring myself to drink Moscato. I’d rather just have sprite.  I really wasn’t sure if it would work in this dish but it really did. It gave the dish just the perfect amount of sweetness, it was yummy. So add your wine and stir over low heat until the wine is absorbed. 

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Now start adding warm chicken broth  1-2 cups at a time, stirring constantly, until it’s absorbed and add more. Do this until the rice is creamy and tender, roughly 25-30 minutes. Mine consistently uses 6 cups of chicken broth, others say they need up to 8. 

This is when you chop up that asparagus and stir it into your creamy dish. Frozen peas that have been thawed could be used here too. Or bacon. Again, I just highly recommend bacon. Always. 

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The real kicker? Grate some fresh parmesan and top each dish with it just before serving. Everyone will swoon. I’m swooning right now.

Risotto with mushrooms & asparagus
Serves 6
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  1. 8 cups chicken broth
  2. 1/2 -ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  3. 1/4 cup butter
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 2 cups finely chopped onions
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  8. 2/3 cup dry white wine
  9. 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed or steamed asparagus, chopped
  10. 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan.
  2. Finely chop the porcini mushrooms and combine with 1/4 cup of warm chicken broth in a small bowl. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Keep the remaining broth warm over very low heat.
  4. Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add 1-2 cups of hot broth at a time; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue to cook and add broth until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas or asparagus. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Top with freshly grated parmesan just before serving.
  7. Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/mushroom-risotto-with-peas-recipe.html?oc=linkback
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network
A Sweeter Thing http://www.asweeterthing.com/