I had my first taste of risotto when my husband, Anand and I were in Brussels, Belgium during his work stint in Europe in 2001. We had just got married at the beginning of the previous year. So it was just the two of us.
Anyway, we chanced upon this fancy Italian Restaurant while driving around. It was an isolated restaurant in the middle of nowhere and the roads were empty probably because of the weather. I remember the evening clearly - it was a cold Jan evening and while we were sitting in that cosy dimly lit restaurant waiting for our dinner, rain was pouring down from the awning outside...
When the waiter served the steaming Mushroom Risotto on a large white plate it looked similar to a rice porridge. I was skeptical about its taste. Alas, looks can be deceiving. When I savored my first spoonful, it was simply heaven. I loved its creamy rich flavor and when it landed in my tummy it felt so warm and comfortable. How was it that I had not tasted this incredibly delicious food before? We actually ordered the same dish again because it was so delicious! It has become one of my favorite Italian dish ever since.
Mushroom Risotto has a chance of becoming heavy and creamy if the right ingredients and the right techniques are not used. Though it might seem time consuming ( because it requires constant stirring while pouring in the stock), it is well worth the effort and time.
This is the recipe for authentic Italian style Mushroom Risotto cooked skinny.
Ingredients ( Serves 4)
3 tbsps olive oil ( 2 tbsps for cooking the mushrooms and 1 tbsp for cooking the rice)
2 portobello mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly (See Note 1)
8 button mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1.5 cups Arborio Rice (See Note 2)
6 cups Fat Free Vegetable Stock, warmed (See Note 3)
4 tbsps light olive oil butter
1/3 cup Light Parmesan Cheese
Salt for taste
Warm 2 tbsps of olive oil in a big pot and put in all the mushrooms, 2 pinches of salt and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Keep the mushrooms and its liquid aside.
Warm another tbsp of olive oil in the same pot and add in the chopped onions and fry for 2 mins. Put the Arborio rice into the pot and let the oil coat all the rice grains for another 2 mins. Season with salt sparingly (See Note 4)
Start adding in the stock slowly. Only 1/2 cup at a time. Stir constantly tilll the stock is absorbed by the rice grains and then add the next 1/2 cup. It's tedious but the stock has to be absorbed evenly. This whole process of the stock being absorbed will take 20-25 mins. That's right - 25 mins. (I can hear you going 'what?! ')
When the last 1/2 cup has been absorbed, reduce the fire to its lowest. Add in the mushroom and its liquid, light butter and Parmesan. Mix thoroughly. Check for seasonings.
Remove from fire and serve immediately garnished with parsley flakes. Any risotto is best eaten when it has just been cooked. A simple garden salad will suffice as a side dish.
1) You can substitute the mushrooms with asparagus as well.
2) Arboria Rice is the special rice used for cooking risotto. It is readily available in many grocery stores.
3) You can make your own veg stock. Look out for the recipe in my earlier posts.
4)Watch out for salt when adding during the cooking because Parmesan Cheese has sodium as well.
5) Risottos are very suitable for those who have a sensitive tummy( ie nothing fiery) and need to be on a bland diet.