Mushroom and asparagus risotto, spring comfort food

Posted: April 21, 2011 in gluten-free recipes, lacto-ovo vegetarian recipes
Tags: ,

I’m still feeling partially dead from this cold.  I’ve eaten maybe 2000 calories in the past three days.  Half an apple here, half a potato there.  I tried a protein shake yesterday, but I’m  just disinterested in food.  Sudafed makes everything taste funny, and I have no hunger or appetite, anyway.

I had a bout of pneumonia (I’m only 39) this past winter that took three months to get past.  I have no idea how I caught the sniffles, but I think my immune system is still weak.  Being sick has done nothing but piss me off, and it will likely piss off my employer, who has a draconian policy regarding sick calls.  (Don’t get me started.  I deleted several ranting sentences, because  it’s a boring topic.)

Today, I’ve got enough energy to cook something.  I thought I’d look for springy comfort food.  I had some asparagus, and a shroom cap. The chef makes it with chicken broth, and I obviously didn’t.  The cheese and butter is easy enough to cut if you like, too.  I used oil instead of the butter, because dairy’s just bad for congested chests….but left the cheese to encourage me to eat.

source:  The Food Network, Mushroom and asparagus risotto

lacto-vegetarian (easily made vegan), -gluten

  • 6 cups chicken broth (obviously, I used veggie broth)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I used vermouth we had layin around.  We have a lot of red wine, not much white)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (olive oil instead)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (I have no idea if my salt is Kosher or not.  Anne Marie could tell me what makes salt kosher.)
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 5 ounces wild mushrooms, cooked and coarsely chopped, approximately 3/4 cup (a portobello cap)
  • 7 ounces asparagus, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan, approximately 1/2 cup (I think I had parmigiano-reggiano)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (yeah, right.  I had ground nutmeg.)

In an electric kettle or medium saucepan with a lid, combine broth and wine and heat just to simmering. Keep warm.

In a large 3 to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains are translucent around the edges. Be careful not to allow the grains or the onions to brown.

Reduce the heat to low. Add enough of the wine and stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir or move the pan often, until the liquid is completely absorbed into rice. Once absorbed, add another amount of liquid just to cover the rice and continue stirring or moving as before. There should be just enough liquid left to repeat 1 more time. It should take approximately 35 to 40 minutes for all of the liquid to be absorbed. After the last addition of liquid has been mostly absorbed, add the mushrooms and asparagus and stir until risotto is creamy and asparagus is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Taste and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

This is my first attempt at risotto.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be.  I guess, just like polenta, this too is a peasant food that’s been fancified in restaurants by slapping a high price tag on it.  I read Bittman’s instruction on risotto as I prepared this.  Because he knows everything about cooking for the normal person.  Next time I may not buy the rice called ‘risotto’, which was pricey, I’ll try a normal short-grain rice.  I followed Bittman’s suggestions, which was to heat the rice over medium heat, stirring at least once per minute. (Not hard considering I was also chopping veggies.)  I zested a whole lemon, and could have used more.  (Of course, you shouldn’t put much stock in my tastebuds right now.)

This turned out great!  Texture-wise, it came out perfect.  My asparagus is hot, but crunchy, my risotto is creamy and al dente.  It’s really filling, too.  It tastes good to me, but diminished due to Sudafed.  I’ll ask Mark.  He loves mushrooms.

Spring vegetable comfort food….this is PERFECT for what I needed today.  I’ve got plenty for Mark when he gets home, and plenty for lunch leftovers tomorrow.  His sister usually hosts Easter brunch, and it’s fun.  The kids run around and find eggs that future brother-in-law has hidden, and they scream and yell outside on their chocolate high….the grown ups inside are all drinking wine (and we’re all generally nice and happy drunks, it works out well).  I was asked to bring a dish and a wine, and I think this’ll be my Easter dish.  Wow, this is really good.

  1. Bex says:

    Yum! Risotto is a wonderful comfort food, and one of the easiest things to make. I don’t why there is such a mystique about it.

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