Mushroom Risotto: A dish with an intimidating history

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I will never forget the first time that I ever tried a risotto.  I was studying abroad and we were on a class trip to the coast of Greece (rough, I know).  We spent most of the afternoon indulging in all of the fabulous Greek scenery and also taking advantage of some of the differences between laws in Europe and the United States just as any other under 21 college student would.  We stopped into a small ocean side restaurant to enjoy some dinner and I chose to try the risotto.  It was the most amazing experience.  I never knew that a dish made from rice could be so rich and creamy.  I have been craving it ever since.

The other thing that I have always felt about risotto is that no home cook, let alone an average home cook with no actual training, could possibly accomplish this dish.  I guess I felt this way because I used to watch “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsey on TV all the time.  The one thing that seemed to be the downfall of every cook on that show was their inability to properly prepare the risotto when stuck on the appetizer station in the kitchen.  So I always assumed that my hankering for risotto would go ignored until I came across it in a restaurant.

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A couple of weeks ago I tried a recipe for a stuffed pepper that claimed that the filling was risotto.  I decided to try it because I figured if the risotto failed, I could cook some rice, add the appropriate flavor-ants and rescue the dish.  What I discovered however is that not only is risotto actually quite simple to make, but that it actually only takes ONE PAN, which if you have a terrible dishwasher like we do, means you are much obliged to have fewer dishes to wash.

I found a recipe for a mushroom risotto online and decided I would try my hand once again.  After staring preparation I realized that the recipe wasn’t really what I wanted but the method was there, so for the first time, I am claiming at least a little bit of originality in the recipe.  So the cut up today is almost everything.

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Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 stalk minced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups short-grain rice
  • up to 5 cups chicken stock (I only needed 3, but this fluctuates)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat
  2. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is tender.  Add the parsley, celery, and mushrooms and cook over medium-low heat until the mushrooms are soft and the celery is tender.
  3. Add the milk to the skillet and stir in the rice.  Simmer and add the stock, about a cup at a time and stir in until the stock is absorbed.  Continue to add doses of stock until the rice is cooked.
  4. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and add the Parmesan.  Serve hot.