I have never made risotto. Can you believe it? Well one time I did make a barley risotto. But I can honestly say I have never cooked arborio rice. I have no idea why. It’s an easy dish that can be flavored any variety of ways, but for some reason I was never truly inspired. I guess the inspiration came. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this fall I am loving the one pot hearty meals. My original intention was to make a simple rici e bisi (rice and peas) but I decided to add the mushrooms for some extra flavor and flare. It was still simple and the flavor was awesome. I made enough for both Josh and I to enjoy dinner and have leftovers for lunch.
Nutritionally, arborio rice is a good source of complex carbohydrates, and provides a small amount of protein. The high starch content of arborio rice makes it an important ingredient in risotto. The starch is gradually released as the risotto cooks, providing risotto’s smooth, creamy texture. Regular rice isn’t a good substitute, as it won’t supply the same level of creaminess. Never rinse risotto rice–you’ll wash off the starch that gives it such a creamy consistency! Overall I can’t complain about the nutritional value of this dish. The rice is by no means bad for you with very little fat, but it would be nice if it did have more than the minimal fiber it contains. On the plus side it is easily digested by the body.
Mushroom and Pea Risotto
- shallot, chopped 1/2 cup
- garlic, minced 3 tbsp
- shiitake mushrooms, 1/2 lb chopped
- turkey bacon, chopped 4 slices
- arborio rice, 1 3/4 cup
- water, 7-8 cups
- Better Than Bouillon chicken base, 2 tsp
- frozen peas, 1 1/2 cups
- parsley, chopped 1/2 cup
- pecorino romano, 1/4 – 1/2 cup
- olive oil
- Place water in a pot and heat through. Keep warm over low heat.
- In a dutch oven heat up a bit of olive oil over medium high heat. Once warm add onion and garlic. Sauté until slightly translucent.
- Add bacon, mix well, followed by mushrooms. Season with s&p. Continue to cook until mushrooms are soft, 5 minutes.
- Stir in arborio rice and chicken base. Continue to cook until slightly translucent, 2-3 minutes. This step cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking.
- Using a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm water and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Continue to add the water 1 cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of water before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. I ended up using 7 cups of water, you may need more or less. Don’t forget to keep stirring.
- When you get to the last cup of water add the parsley and peas. Continue to stir until water is almost completely soaked in.
- Add fresh grated pecorino romano and mix well. Turn off heat and taste test. Season more if necessary.
- I sautéed a few of the mushrooms caps whole in olive oil to top our bowls with.