RECIPE: Bella and Shiitake mushroom risotto

In 2015, Foodie in Quebec City will have more recipes, much more traveling and even more Quebec-made ingredients, products and restaurant reviews!

The «more recipe» resolution begins NOW. Because baby, it’s cold outside and risotto warms my heart. I’ve also considered what I believe to be the perfect wine pairing for this recipe.

Bella and Shiitake mushroom risotto
serves 4 as main course. serves 8 as accompaniment to fish

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIngredients

5 cups of chopped mushrooms. An equal amount of each mushroom variety, i.e. one pint of Bella mushroom and one pint of Shiitake. And slice thinner the shiitake stems, they can be a little fibrous if chopped too thick.

4 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade-the reduced sodium brand if store-bought)

2 French shallots (I cut mine in rings, but let your imagination run free!)

¼ cup of un-salted butter. For the locavore option, try Beurerie du Patrimoine‘s artisanal butter. to-die-for!

1 ½ cup of Arborio rice (the organic kind is pesticide-free; I use the Inari brand.)

½ cup of white wine (or pink, I’ve literally tried both!)

4 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade, or the less sodium brand if store bought.)

1 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano. Finely grated, no chunks. You can also use aged cheddar. Oh! I just had a flash! Laiterie Charlevoix’s 1608 and/or Hercule cheese would be perfect for this dish!

1 minced clove of garlic. I ALWAYS use Quebec-grown garlic when cooking, because it’s so much tastier!

Olive oil, or a cooking oil of your choice. I use olive oil, but not a refined variety. I use Terra Delyssa that I buy at Costco, because it comes in a three-pack. It’s the best quality-to-value ration I found.

Sea salt. I use Vancouver Island Salt Co. sea salt, the only Canadian artisan salt. I find it salts a little more than regular sea salts, so keep that in mind when cooking with it.

Freshly ground black pepper. Grind it in bigger chunks whilst cooking; use a finer grind for decoration.

Scallions or chives for decoration.

An empty bowl to keep your cooked mushrooms and a wooden spoon to stir while cooking. Preferably no metal cooking utensils for this recipe. Well, except for the knife. But you know what I mean.

Instructions

Prepare all your ingredients ahead of time, because making risotto requires you give the dish all of your attention. And keep everything close by so that you can easily reach out to your ingredients.

1-Start by heating up your chicken stock in the microwave, because you’ll want to add it hot to the pan in a few minutes. Heat it for about 2 minutes. Keep it close.

2-In a high-edge, wok-like pan, start sauté-ing your mushrooms in oil. Yeah, sauté-ing, I like that word. Use the quantity of oil you think is necessary. Depends on the size of your pan. ¼ cup is definitely more than enough. Toss them around so nothing sticks. I use an aluminum pan primarily because I have a ceramic cooktop, but I use aluminum pans mostly because I believe it gives the best Maillard reaction. Add salt and pepper. Don’t hesitate to cook your mushrooms down to a dark brown colour. Once cooked, set them aside in a bowl.

3-In the same pan, medium heat, add the butter, shallots, garlic and rice. You want to mix these ingredients around so the butter coats the rice. You might feel you need more butter. Go ahead! Don’t mix for more than 2 minutes; you don’t want it to chunk up. Now pour the wine! Keep your spoon moving around in the pan, stir. Not too hard, gently.Photo 2015-01-17 14 48 53

4-Progressively add the hot chicken broth, about 1 cup at a time. And keep stirring. That’s when you need to give the risotto lots-o-love. For every cup of hot broth you add, be certain to stir around, because that’s when the starch from the rice creates natural creaminess texture. Add a cup when the rice tells you it needs liquid. Look at it, the texture will tell you.

5-Once you’ve finished your broth and have a somewhat creamy texture, stir in the cheese and make sure it’s well incorporated before adding the mushrooms you previously set aside. You can then rectify your seasoning with salt and pepper.

6-Serve and top your portions with freshly cut scallions or chives. Bon appétit!

Wine pairing

I opted for a bottle of La Tour Saint-Martin, a 2013 Menetou Salon. A Sauvignon blanc from the Loire valley. A mineral, well-balanced wine with good length that’ll delicately rinse your tongue after every bite. Perfect pairing to make way for more of the risotto creamy goodness.

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