Monday, January 24, 2011

Putting the Fun in Fungi

Farm box surprises are so much fun. Last week I got a container of these:

I had no idea what kind of mushroom they were, so I looked them up. Trumpet!

I saw them this morning in the fridge when I was rooting around for the peanut butter and decided I would make something with them tonight.

A quick Epi search revealed lots of options. I considered a mushroom ragout to put on or in an omelette, but then I ran across this recipe and decided that I just had to make mushroom risotto. Had to.

Yum, right?

A major bonus to this decision was that I had all the ingredients already on hand. Not that Whole Foods isn't a real treat at 6:30pm on a weeknight.

I ended up modifying the Epi recipe considerably because I only had four and half ounces of those fabulous trumpet mushrooms. I cut the recipe to one-third, essentially. Except the parmesan.

Here's my version, which is DELICIOUS and, actually, really easy. When I eat alone at home, I don't usually make audible "mmm" sounds. I did tonight. This is one of the best things I've made in a while, and the recipe only took only 45 minutes, including some bonus shrimp I made.

Kate's Mushroom Risotto
Makes 3 appetizer-sized or 2 dinner-sized servings

2 tablespoons butter, divided
4 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, sliced (you could probably use any mushrooms for this, honestly)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
3/4 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup if you are grating using a microplane grater, which incidentally is one of my favorite kitchen tools)

1. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. As soon as it gets foamy, add the mushrooms, sprinkle with kosher salt, and saute until they are moderately browned, about 6 minutes.   Transfer mushrooms to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

These smell so good, it's hard to describe.

2. While the mushrooms are sauteeing, bring 4 cups chicken broth to simmer in a small (2 quart) saucepan; keep warm.

3. Melt remaining 1/2 tablespoons butter with 2 teaspoons olive oil in heavy medium saucepan (3-4 quarts is great) over medium-low heat. Add leek, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender and golden, 4 to 5 minutes.

Keep an eye on these, mine almost burned!

4. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir constantly until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Add white wine and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.

6. Add about 1/2 cup warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 3 minutes

7. Continue adding broth by half-cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes. Note: you don't need to stir this constantly. Aim for stirring at least once every 3 minutes, and stir more frequently as the pan gets drier or you may get the rice stuck to the bottom (like I did). The good news is that if you do this, you can add more broth and scrape everything off the bottom and it just gets incorporated and doesn't affect the finished product.

8. Stir in sautéed mushrooms. Continue adding broth by half-cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 10 more minutes. 

9. Turn off the heat and stir in grated Parmesan cheese, if using. The end!

I decided that I wanted to add a little protein to this dish, so mid-process I pulled four frozen shrimp out of the freezer and defrosted and marinated them while making the risotto. I always keep a bag of high quality large frozen shrimp in the fridge. It's actually better to buy them this way than to by them from the fish case, as most of the shrimp in that case were previously frozen and are now defrosted. They're cheaper and fresher. The key to good frozen shrimp is to buy wild, not farmed shrimp, and to look at the ingredients. Make sure that the only things listed are shrimp and salt.

The "marinade" I used was white wine with two cloves of crushed garlic. I tossed the peeled shrimp in this and let them marinate while I cooked the risotto. Once the risotto was done, I patted the shrimp dry with a paper towel and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I heated a little bit of olive oil (about a teaspoon) in the same pan I sauteed the mushrooms in and added the shrimp. Once they got pink on one side, I flipped them and added the remaining marinade, cooking a few minutes until the shrimp were done.

And that was dinner. It was about a thousand times better than I was expecting and made for an excellent start to the week.

I am SO looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Here's the nutrition info, excluding the shrimp "garnish."

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