Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mushroom and Zucchini Risotto

I have been wanting to make Risotto for a REALLY long time (like 1.5 years long). I have made fake risotto where it is just plain rice in a thick sauce that gives it a risotto feel, but not a real risotto made with Arborio rice. I finally got around to buying Arborio rice so I had all I needed really. It is such a versatile dish that is fairly easy (but a little boring) to make. A recipe is hardly needed and you can really get your creative juices running.

This isn't something I would make all the time. The only reason why is because Arborio rice is white rice and has a higher glycemic index than the all powerful brown rice. This means that the body releases the carbohydrates more readily which is not desired when choosing carbohydrates. But, in moderation, risotto made with Arborio rice is a wonderful treat and worth the efforts (from your biceps and triceps...from stirring).

I guess it has been almost two weeks since I made this. I found a recipe for a zucchini risotto which I used as a guideline as I had never made risotto before. I varied from it a bit and made a mushroom zucchini risotto. The ingredients for this dish are so simple which makes it so beautiful. When making risotto choosing the liquid for the rice to absorb is probably the most important. Be sure to pick good quality liquids. Whether you use tomato juice or broth or what-have-you, make sure it is awesome. I used my favourite vegetable broth for the occasion. I can't remember the brand but I think it may be Pacific All Natural Organic Vegetable Broth. Anyway, the key point is that the ingredients should have nothing but vegetables, water, and a little bit of salt.

Mushroom and Zucchini Risotto adapted from think.

7 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
3 small zucchini
3 portabello mushroom caps
50 g soft unripened goat's milk cheese
black pepper to taste

Bring vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium pot. Heat olive oil in a separate pot on medium. Add onions and heat for 3 minutes until softened. Add the zucchini and portabello and satuee until browned nicely, about 5-8 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until coated, about 2 minutes. Ladle in the vegetable broth about 1 cup at a time, slowly stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Add seasoning at this point (pepper or thyme in this case). Continue this adding and stirring until the rice is creamy yet al dente in the center. This was about 45 minutes for me. Once the rice is cooked, add in the cheese. I used goat's milk but Parmesan is definitely tradition here.

The broth I used could stand alone as a soup and therefore this risotto turned out very thick, which isn't really a bad thing. Next time I think I would dilute the broth a bit, or use a tomato juice. Also be careful when using broth to watch for the sodium content. Because you are basically concentrating the broth, it can end up quite salty if you don't use a low-sodium variety.

I will be making this again in the future, possibly with tomatoes since we are on lycopene overload over here, as I still have some Arborio rice. Look out for it!

In my next post I will talk about a wonderful Summer Slaw with lots of seasonal vegetables, mostly from my own backyard!

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