Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mushroom Risotto

I went to the wine country last weekend, and had an incredible walk in the vineyard with a winemaker. Walking between the rows and rows of tiny grapes, the winemaker explained the work that goes into the production of a bottle of wine. Did you know that whole groups of grapes are frequently culled because they are either ripening too fast or too slow? That's because the best tasting wine is made with grapes that all ripen at the same time. I've always appreciated a good bottle of wine, but this walk made me appreciate them in a whole new way.

This recipe is one of my favourite ways to cook with wine. I usually use a sweet white wine, but I've also used a dry white wine. Use whatever you like to drink. Do make sure you like the taste of the wine, as cooking enhances the taste, while it cooks off the alcohol.


2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (Vidalia, Maui sweet, or Walla Walla are my favs)
1 clove garlic (about 1/2 tsp minced)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (can use water, instead)
1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried parsley)
2-3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup half and half (can use soy 1/2 &1/2 creamer)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper


Pour the olive oil into a saute pan. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook over medium heat about 3 or 4 minutes, until the onion is just translucent and the mushrooms are starting to release their liquids. Add the rice to the pan and stir to mix. Add the white wine and parsley to the pan, and stir. Heat the chicken broth in a microwave safe cup or bowl and set aside. Add about 1/2 cup broth to the rice mixture when the wine is absorbed, stirring each time you add the broth. Continue to add the broth to the pan about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until the rice is almost cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes after the rice has been added. Add the half and half or soy creamer as the last liquid. Add the parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

Stealth Cooking Tip: There's been a lot in the news lately about the health benefits of moderate wine usage. (Up to one glass daily for women, and up to two glasses daily for men.) That's due mainly to the research on resveratrol, one of the antioxidents found in the skins of grapes. While the most resveratrol is found in red wines, it's in white wine, too. This recipe uses only a small aount of wine, plus the wine is added early in the cooking process, so that most of the alcohol is cooked off. If you're not into cooking with wine, you can always substitute water.

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