When I was fresh into my Undergrad degree, I used to love watching cooking shows on tv while I was huffing and puffing on the treadmill. I was just teaching myself to cook at that time, and what I was able to take away from watching Gordon Ramsay scream at a bunch of people was this: any idiot can make a risotto. When it came to cooking at that point in my life I did indeed consider myself an idiot, and so one evening after a hard workout, I tried making risotto for the first time.
Having never even tasted risotto, I remember thinking that it tasted very good! And now, 11 years later (yikes!), after making it countless times and having it at many restaurants, I have no idea if that first recipe was actually any good “texture-wise”, but the point isn’t to make PERFECT, restaurant-quality risotto on your first try. The point is to have a recipe that isn’t difficult and that tastes amazing.
And this recipe tastes amazing. Sure, it’s non-traditional and is made in the oven, but the flavour is absolutely on point. I have Emilie at The Clever Carrot to thank for that! This recipe is based off of hers and is one I return to again and again.
Paul and I are lucky enough to have quite a few friends living around the world who send us things. If I need baking chocolate from Switzerland we have a source who visits Canada very often and we also have a wonderful friend who lives in Southern France and who recently sent us a few jars of wild mushrooms (porcini and chanterelle) that he dried for us. Our supply is getting low, but it’s 2016, and when in doubt, there’s the internet and specialty shops to get more dried wild mushrooms when we run out.
This risotto is the perfect way to enjoy a fancy pants dinner with minimal effort. Essentially, this is only 10 ingredients and to keep it reaaaaal good, all you need is some quality Parmigiano-Reggiano. The taste is incredible.
I like to add peas to the deliciousness because I really find the pop of green with each bite adds a whole new layer of awesomeness.
So next time you want to serve up something amazing and actually have time to hang out with your guests/family, this is your best bet. I love this stuff!!
- 1 small handful of dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
- 1 1/2 cups aborio rice
- 1/3 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
- 5 cups vegetable broth, divided, plus more if necessary
- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for topping
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the porcini mushrooms into a small bowl. Add hot water to cover and soak for 10-15 minutes to re-hydrate. Set aside.
- In a large Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft but not coloured, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme leaves and sauté for another 2 minutes. Quickly stir in the rice with a wooden spoon and continue stirring until the grains begin to crackle.
- Pour in the wine and add the bowl of mushrooms with the reserved porcini liquid. Cook until the most of the moisture has evaporated.
- Add 4 1/2 cups of vegetable broth. Cover and place into the center of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the risotto from the oven. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, peas, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and stir frequently for about 1-2 minutes. The texture should be oozy, not stiff. Add extra broth if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, portion the risotto into bowls. Top with big shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano and some fresh thyme, if desired.
Recipe adapted from The Clever Carrot