Monday, August 18, 2014

Risotto with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Fresh Peas

I love risotto. I had never tried it until a couple of years ago (yes, I led a sheltered life) but since then I make it regularly. There are many different types, and I've liked all of them I've tried, but my favorite has mushrooms, asparagus and freshly shelled peas.

I also make chicken stock frequently and this recipe is one of the reasons. Risotto is great with canned chicken (or vegetable) stock but it is VASTLY improved with homemade stock. It's also much easier to control how much sodium is in it since you KNOW how much you put (or don't put) in your own stock.

There are a lot of recipes for risotto out there - and the first time I made it I looked at LOTS of them and pared them down to come up with my own conglomeration that suits my tastes.

Making risotto is really kind of an act of love - it's time consuming and demands constant attention as you stand over the stove. Certainly there are package mixes that don't take as much time but they don't come close to the flavor of the real thing - and though it is a bit time-consuming, it's certainly not difficult.

Feel free to change this in any way that suits you - add whatever kind of mushrooms you like (or none!), whatever vegetables you prefer, make it vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock, etc.

I'll also let you in on a little secret - I had an ulterior motive for making it this time around. I wanted risotto cakes. If you've never tried them (they're patties made out of cooked risotto, dipped in flour, egg and panko and deep fried), I'll be posting that as well, but just to give you an idea how good they are, when my wife bit into one she told me she had just had a mouth orgasm.

Now, I won't claim that's going to happen to you, but they are pretty awesome - good enough that it's worth making the risotto for that alone.

If you try it, let me know what you think!


  • 6 cups chicken broth (homemade or canned)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (or any kind of mushrooms you like)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz very lightly steamed asparagus
  • 4 oz freshly shelled peas


  1. Pour the broth in a saucepan and warm over low heat
  2. Pour 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms and onions, and cook until soft, about 3 - 5 minutes
    Sauté the mushrooms and onions just until soft
  3. Add garlic and mix well. Cook another one to two minutes until garlic is fragrant
    Add garlic and cook until fragrant
  4. Remove mushrooms, onions and garlic and their liquid, and set aside
  5. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to skillet and add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes
    Add the rice to the oil, stirring to coat well
  6. The rice will start to darken a bit; you want it to get to a pale golden color. When it reaches this stage, pour in the wine and stir constantly until the wine is fully absorbed
    Cook the rice until it starts to turn a golden brown, then add the wine
  7. Add 1 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed 
    Add one cup broth
  8. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes
    Stir until the rice is absorbed...
  9. When all of the broth has been absorbed, the rice should be ready to remove from the heat. 
    ...then repeat until there is no more broth.  The rice
    should look like this before adding the butter
  10. Add the butter and stir until melted
  11. Add the mushroom/onion/garlic mixture and stir well
    Add the mushroom mixture and stir well
  12. Add the parmesan cheese and mix well
  13. Stir in the asparagus and peas
    Add the asparagus and peas and mix well
  14. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  15. Serve hot - and enjoy!

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