I love a good risotto. Lobster risotto, crab risotto, and my absolute favourite – mushroom risotto. I decided to make lamb loin chops for Father’s Day. It was cooler and raining out and it seemed like the perfect afternoon to make a delicious, creamy mushroom risotto to go with the lamb (I also LOVE risotto with any kind of braised meat, particularly braised lamb shank or beef short ribs!).
Great risotto is all about technique and quality of ingredients. You don’t want to rush it and you want to use the best stock and parmesan cheese you can afford.
I’ve had bad risotto MANY times and it’s so disappointing. If you don’t take the time to do it right and then take it off the heat at the just right time you either end up with slightly hard, chewy pieces of rice OR you end up eating something that tastes like a big pile of mush. The key to a perfect risotto is allowing the starches to be released slowly to ensure you get that amazing creaminess without overcooking it. You want to be able to tell you’re eating rice and not porridge. And of course, seasoning properly and using excellent ingredients is always incredibly important as well.
I like using a good-quality mushroom stock and grana padano for this risotto. When it’s a really special occasion, I use the best mushrooms I can find as well (chanterelle, morel, shiitake, Portobello, oyster, etc – or a combination of any/all). However, this risotto is also delicious using good old button mushrooms is you don’t have access to, or don’t want to pay for, the more expensive kinds.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
- 1.5 cups Arborio rice (can be found in any grocery store)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup diced leak (white part only) *use white onion if you don’t have leak
- 1/4 cup white/Spanish onion – diced
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 Tbsp garlic – minced
- 1.5 tsp fresh rosemary – minced
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 4 – 4.5 cups mushroom, vegetable or chicken stock
- 1.5 packed cups mushrooms (button or any kind you like!) – large dice
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup frozen or fresh cooked peas
- Bring stock to a boil in a pot and set aside.
- In a large pot, add butter, leak, garlic, onion and rosemary and sauté on medium-low heat until onion is translucent. A few minutes. Ensure there is no colour on the onion.
- Add arborio rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more or until rice starts to become translucent around the edges. Again, don’t brown the rice.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Turn the heat up to high and deglaze with white wine, if using.
- Cook out for 1 – 2 minutes or until wine is almost completely absorbed.
- Using a ladle, start adding boiling hot stock to arborio rice, ONE CUP AT A TIME.
- Allow the rice to absorb the stock almost completely before adding another cup to it.
- Ensure you are stirring the rice constantly over medium-high heat as it’s absorbing all the liquid.
- When the last of the liquid is almost completely absorbed and risotto is still quite liquidy and creamy, turn heat off. (It will continue cooking and absorbing liquid so you want to turn heat off JUST before it’s ready!)
- Add peas (if using), lemon zest and parmesan cheese.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Serve with a sprinkle of cheese on top.
Enjoy on it’s own or with your favourite meat or seafood on top and serve with a nice, big glass of wine!