This week, I went to the wednesday farmer’s market to get sun gold cherry tomatoes and came back instead with a bunch of leeks, an eggplant and some shiitake mushrooms. It’s hard to resist beautiful produce.

mushroom risotto diptych

I used to really hate mushrooms, but Matt loves them, so I’ve been making an effort and warming up to them slowly. In spite of this, I wasn’t sure about the flavor or strength of shiitakes, so I talked to the farmer a little bit. I also asked my brother about them (he’s a chef). Armed with a little more information, I headed into the kitchen. Here, I have to admit that I am a little bit of a mycophobe. Every time I chop mushrooms I wonder if they are really the type they’re supposed to be and if I am going to poison us by cooking with them. I recognize that this is irrational, but it’s true. After my first bite of this risotto, which was improvised but based on an existing recipe, my fears (mostly) melted away and I exclaimed, “I think I love shiitake mushrooms.” I hope you will love them this way too.

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2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, chopped into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/2 c wild rice mix (I got mine, a blend of about five varieties – from the bulk section of my health food store)
6-8 c veggie broth
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter with the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until they are soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms stir for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are softer and have deepened a little in color. Meanwhile, heat the broth separately.

Pour in the rice and stir until it is completely coated in butter.

Add the broth in 1/2 c increments, stirring frequently/ constantly between each addition. The broth from the previous addition should be absorbed before you add more. If 6-8 c of broth is not enough liquid, add hot water to supplement.

When the rice is still slightly al dente, turn off the heat and add the Parmesan.

Serve hot.

A few notes: This is much more filling than it looks. We are both good eaters and each of us finished only half of what we served ourselves. Also, wild rice + risotto = very long cooking time. Make sure you have a few hours to set aside for this. It’s worth it, though. I promise.

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