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Mushroom risotto

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Steak with RisottoI came to love mushroom risotto after a series of dinner misfires while we were away on vacation.  Kelly was attending a conference at one of the resorts at Disney World and the rest of the family came along for a nice mid-winter getaway. Since we stayed right on Disney property we spent a fair amount of time eating the same foods prepared in slightly different ways.  We grew tired of this pretty quickly!  One of my close friends lives in the area and suggested a new tapas restaurant down off from International Dr.  We decided to give it a try.  We get off the highway and headed toward International Drive.  We got stuck in a traffic jam like you would not believe.  I wasn’t sure if the pope was in town, or the president, or both there were so many cars.  I took nearly two hours for us to make a short loop around to get back to the highway and retreat back to Disney property. 

We ended up near Downtown Disney, which is where the Boardwalk Resort is.  Having been to that resort many times, I knew that the Flying Fish restaurant was right there.  I had never eaten there, but they (at the time) carried Flying Fish beer from New Jersey, which I am a fan of.  They had no reservations available, but I was able to talk my way into a table and we didn’t even wait 15 minutes for that.

After these series of events something overtook me.  I ordered something that I would not ever order out, and haven’t since: pan seared scallops with mushroom risotto.  I like a scallop as much s the next guy but I am more of a breaded and fried scallop kind of guy.  They brought the dish to the table and I tried the mushroom risotto first.  I was stunned.  It was one of the best things that I had ever eaten.  I told Kelly to try a bite and she quickly agreed.  We had to get this recipe!

We had heard a rumor that the wait staff at the Disney restaurants would actually provide them upon request.  That rumor was disproved that night.  Waiter flatly said no!  He did give us some clues though.  Use good wild mushrooms and mascarpone cheese.  

We tried to replicate it for quite a while after that without much success.  We made a good risotto, just not exactly what we were looking for.  Some time later we had risotto out and it was really good, not the same as the Flying Fish, but it came close.  We talked to the waiter, and I don’t even remember where that was and found that the missing ingredient was vegetable stock.  We had been using chicken and that left something missing.  It was the earthy goodness that vegetable stock provides.  This is several years of trial and error boiled down into a recipe that you can make yourself.

Mushroom Risotto
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Ingredients
  1. 2tbsp olive oil
  2. 2tbsp butter
  3. 1/2 minced shallot
  4. 1cup Arborio rice
  5. 4cup vegetable stock
  6. 1-1/2cup chopped wild mushrooms
  7. 1/3cup mascarpone cheese
  8. 1/8cup grated parmasan cheese
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the vegetable stock in a separate pan. It should be close enough that you can easily ladle stock into rice while cooking. Stock should be hot, but not boiling or simmering.
  2. In a heavy bottom wide pan, heat olive oil and butter to a heated pan and melt together.
  3. Add the minced shallots and cook until soft.
  4. Add Arborio rice, coat with oil mixture and cook for one minute.
  5. Add one cup of heated vegetable stock to rice and stir constantly (I prefer a wooden spoon). Once stock is mostly absorbed, add 1/2 cup of additional stock.
  6. Repeat those steps until the rice is mostly cooked, about 20 minutes.
  7. Add chopped mushrooms and add more stock.
  8. Once the risotto is cooked to your liking, for me this is a bit al dente remove the pan from heat and spoon in the mascarpone cheese and stir gently.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. Risotto is a pretty needy dish. You should not plan on wandering too far away from this while adding the stock. And, take your time. It will likely take a few times of making this to get the hang of the stock adding process. You need to stir it enough to create that great creamy texture, but not too much or you'll end up with a clump of rice.
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