Monday, July 6, 2009

marsala mushroom risotto

everything about this title sounds delicious. i love marsala wine, especially sweet marsala, and often use it even though a recipe calls for dry. it immediately imparts a flavor that would take hours of careful reducing and tweaking to otherwise come up with. risotto, as you have probably guessed by now, is a staple in our house...and since it's gluten-free, it's being eaten even more often! mushrooms are being slowly introduced around these parts because my husband was never too fond of them. they are growing on him, however, so you will likely notice them showing up more and more.

i have posted several recipes for risotto, and i swear each is my favorite, but then i create another and i fall in love all over again. this is an excellent vegetarian option, you don't even notice that there is no meat in the dish because it's so hearty. i used red wine to make this beacuse...well, that's what i had open. it tasted great, but it does color the rice slightly (as you can see in the photo). if you prefer a more pure visual experience, go with white wine. also, in full disclosure, i used chicken stock to make this, but veggie stock is just as good (though, it too will color the rice slightly).

ingredients for the risotto:
1.5 cups arborio rice
4 cups stock (veggie or chicken) - Pacific brand is gluten-free
1/2 cup wine (red or white)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (use a microplane if you have one)

ingredients for the mushrooms:
1 package of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and stems discarded
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
splash (maybe 1/4 cup) of sweet marsala wine

in a small pot heat the stock over low heat. you just need to keep it warm throughout the cooking process.

in a large pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat (it's better if this is lower than you think it should if you are unsure, turn the heat down) add the onion and some salt and sweat the onions until they are glassy. add the rice and stir until it smells nutty, then add the wine. stir until the liquid is incorporated, and then add 1/2 cup of the stock. stir and let the liquid plump the rice. continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until all but 1/2 cup is incorporated. (be sure to stir the rice regularly, and don't let it get too dry...the more you stir it, the more the starches will break down, which is what makes that beautifully creamy sauce.) once there is 1/2 cup of stock remaining, add in the cheese, stir, and then the last 1/2 cup of the stock. turn off the heat and let the residual heat help the rice absorb the remaining stock.

while the risotto is cooking...

heat the butter and oil (measurements for the mushrooms) in a small pan and once melted add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and the leaves of thyme. stir until the mushrooms start to go soft and absorb some of the butter and oil and then add in the marsala. stir through until some of the liquid is reduced/absorbed by the mushrooms.

top the risotto with the mushroom mixture. enjoy!

the thyme and mushrooms go really well together, but if you'd like to add a different herb some of these would work: sage, parsley, rosemary, or a herbes de provence blend.

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