Whenever I’m in the mood for something that is quick to make but tastes like it took hours, I turn to risotto. Ever since I watched Rachel Ray make it on 30-Minute Meals years ago and saw how easy it was to make, I’ve been hooked.
The best thing about risotto is that you can make it with tons of different things—for herbivores and carnivores—for meal variety. Add shrimp or chicken for meat eaters, or cheese and herbs or even peas for an easy vegetarian meal.
I got a good deal on a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano and my plan was to just make some creamy risotto until I spotted a nice batch of shitake mushrooms. It would’ve been nice to find Portobello mushrooms or even crimini, but I do love shitake and I was happy to snap up a few hundred grams.
Even if you just “have to have” meat in your meals I encourage you to give it a try with just mushrooms because anything other than the white button mushrooms have a really hearty earthy flavor that will satisfy your appetite. If you do decide to add meat to the risotto or have it on the side, you should make ¼ cup servings for each person.
The key to really getting good flavor in your risotto is the broth. Use beef, lamb, duck or vegetable broth and add other herbs and seasoning to it. I like to add in a bay leaf and sometimes saffron for a bright color and a delicious flavor!
Experiment with it and see what you like; you’ll find that you can make risotto taste dozens of different ways.
Servings: 2 (or 4 with a meat entrée)
1 cup Arborio rice
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups Shitake mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 onion, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. olive oil
- Start broth over medium heat, if it begins to boil, turn it on low but keep it warm.
- Add oil and pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Stir in onions and mushrooms and cook 5 to 10 minutes, or until onions are brown and mushrooms are free of water.
- Add in Arborio rice and cook until grans become transparent.
- Add 1 to 1 ½ ladles of broth to skillet. It will sizzle, but that’s ok. Stir occasionally until liquid has cooked out.
- Add another ladle or ladle and a half to the skillet and repeat. Usually you have to do this at least 3 times but you may have to do it more, which is why I always make too much broth and refrigerate the rest.
- When the rice looks creamy and is no longer hard, the risotto is ready to eat.
TIP: Set a timer for 18 20 minutes and you’ll find your risotto is done by the time the timer has run out.