Shiitake Mushroom Risotto
I know so many people who are intimidated by risotto. What actually IS risotto? Why is it upwards of $16 at restaurants and why would I want to make it?
Boy oh boy… Risotto at it’s simplest is rice cooked in stock or broth and finished with lots of cheese and butter. And ANYONE can make it! Seriously if you can cook regular rice, you can cook risotto.
However, risotto can be very poorly done and instead of creamy, cheesy deliciousness, you’ll end up with a gloopy, cold-oatmeal like consistency… Yuck, I hate paying upwards of $16 for a plate of oatmeal-like risotto and so should you! So let me edumacate ya on what not to do when making risotto:
- Never cook risotto with cold stock or broth. Having your stock hot before cooking is key! The hot stock slowly draws out the starches in the rice giving you rice that feels like it’s been cooked in a wonderful, heavy cream but all you used was stock!
- Don’t overcook it or let it sit too long. Don’t get me wrong, I shamelessly warm up a bowl of risotto the next day and enjoy its buttery goodness. But proper risotto should be creamy and warm right off the stove. Again, think oatmeal.
- Do not be shy with the butter and cheese! You’re not eating this to lose weight, you’re eating it because it’s delicious and you deserve it! So pile on the cheese man, and smile while doing it. 🙂
- Use arborio rice to get the correct texture. It’s short-grained and very starchy which is important for the cooking process. However, if you want to use regular rice, you can still make it better than most restaurants as long as you follow all the previous steps.
- Using alcohol really gives it an extra boost of flavor. But don’t panic, if that’s not your jam you can wait for it… STILL make risotto better than a lot of restaurants.
Phew! There, now you’re an expert on risotto and all you gotta do is make it! This is one of those dishes I’ve made under many, many a chef. And let me tell ya, there are a million roads to Rome. Meaning they all do it a different way and all those ways can be right.
So no freaking out, go grab yourself some rice, stock, cheese, and butter and eat the happiest bowl of rice you have ever dreamed of.