I, shall we say, stewed (heh) over what to call this. First, it's delicious. Second, it's vegetarian. Third, though, it's basically some risotto and some mushrooms thrown together to make a meal OR to go with a larger meal with some meat or another veggie side dish.
So I almost posted them separately, but they go so well together that I wanted to present them to you as a complete meal, which they totally are.
Unless you make them separately and serve them at different times, which also works great. You see the problem.
I first had this idea after reading this similar recipe from Love and Olive Oil, and I couldn't get it out of my mind. I adore mushrooms and Jay hates them, it's one of the very few things that we difer on. There are plenty of foods that one of us prefers over the other, but a whole dinner of rice and mushrooms for someone who is mainly low-carb and hates fungus was just not happening. So, I made this for lunch for myself and then ate it again that night for dinner. Jay had some mushrooms and a little rice and I added steak and sauteed spinach for him. Everyone was happy, but I could honestly eat an entire plate just like this.
It's so simple: very basic risotto with mascarpone added right at the end; use veggie stock to make this vegetarian. The mushrooms are vegetarian as they are; a mix of fresh and dried mushrooms for a variety of textures and flavors. Onion, butter, and tomato paste make a super rich flavor combination, and the mushrooms sear then stew while you stir the risotto together. This is SO good.
I'm showing these pictures separately; mushrooms then risotto. In real life, though, you'll probably start the dried mushrooms so they can reconstitute while you start the risotto. While the risotto cooks, you make the mushroom sauce at the same time. Then, very last, stir in the dried mushrooms to the fresh as the risotto is finishing. It sounds complicated but I promise it's not, both of these recipes require a good bit of stirring and that's about it.
For the mushrooms! We have butter, onion, tomato paste, fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms, and vegetable stock.
I used a dried mushroom blend that was in the bulk section at Whole Foods, and it was delicious. However, using all porcini or any other dried mushroom would work really well. Same with the fresh mushrooms; use anything you like! I find the gourmet blends at Lidl and they aren't too expensive at all, but if you don't shop at a discount-type of store it would definitely be more affordable to buy baby bellas or straight white mushrooms. The flavor will change slightly, but the mushroom sauce will be delicious no matter what type of 'shroom you use.
First, put the dried mushrooms and veggie stock in a small pot. Put a lid on the pot and bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-high and let the mushrooms boil covered for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the mushrooms steep for another 15 minutes or more - this can be done in advance or the night before, too.
When the mushrooms have steeped and are soft, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon to a plate. Reserve the liquid for the sauce. If there are any very large mushrooms, cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet to medium-high with a pat of butter. Add the fresh mushrooms to the skillet and saute them for about 5 minutes with a sprinkle of salt, then add the onion to the skillet.
Stir the onions into the skillet for about 3 minutes. When the fresh mushrooms and onions have softened slightly, add the tomato paste and stir it into the mushroom mixture.
Add about a cup of the mushroom liquid to the skillet and turn the heat down to low. Now the mushrooms will cook like risotto, slowly with the stock reducing as the mushrooms cook down. When the stock has reduced, add a bit more stock along with the dried/reconstituted mushrooms. Keep cooking the mushrooms, stirring every once in awhile, until the mixture is very dark and most of the liquid has reduced. You may have a little bit of the stock leftover, or you can use it all. Leave the last few tablespoons in the pot; that is where any dirt from the dried mushrooms will settle.
Right before serving, stir the remaining butter into the mushrooms and taste for seasoning - add a few pinches of salt here.
WHILE THAT IS HAPPENING, get to work on the risotto. For this you'll need some short-grain rice, more butter, white wine, onion, garlic, chicken or veggie stock, and mascarpone cheese. The ingredients are so simple and the mascarpone adds the best creamy flavor to this dish.
Start the risotto by sauteing the onion with some butter in another skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. When the onion softens, add the rice and garlic. Stir the rice around for about a minute to coat it in the butter and soften the garlic just a bit.
Next, add the wine to the skillet and stir it into the rice until it is all absorbed. Same goes for stock - add about half a cup at a time, stir until the pan is mostly dry, then repeat until the rice is cooked through, about 25 minutes. The amount of stock you use will vary slightly, so taste the rice as you go; you'll know when it's done. When the rice is cooked, season it with salt and pepper to your taste and stir in the mascarpone cheese.
I serve the mushrooms and rice together with microgreens or whatever other kind of raw green stuff I have in the fridge.
I can't tell you how much I love this. It's so simple but feels definitely fancy, is vegetarian (just use all veggie stock if you care!) and so full of flavor from the infused mushroom stock and butter + mascarpone cheese stirred in right at the end.
This is great for a weeknight when you have a teeny bit extra time or a weekend - the rice and mushrooms can be made earlier in the day and then reheated on low on the stovetop, just stir in a little more stock to each to thin them back out.
Don't skip the microgreens - they add a ton of fresh flavor to the slow-cooked feel of the rest of the dish.
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 ½ cups dried mixed mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces chopped mixed mushrooms
- ¼ medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup short-grain rice such as arborio
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 ounces mascarpone cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- microgreens for serving
- Note: I make the mushrooms and risotto in two skillets at the same time, but wrote the directions separately for clarity. These are great together or separately as side dishes.
- Make the mushrooms: Combine the vegetable stock with the dried mushrooms in a small pot. Cover the pot and bring to a boil on the stove. Boil the mushrooms for 5 minutes, then turn the heat off and let the mushrooms steep covered for 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the stock with a slotted spoon to cool. Chop any large mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, and reserve the stock.
- In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and stir for 5 minutes to soften the mushrooms slightly, then add the onion. Cook the onion for 3 minutes with the mushrooms, then stir in the tomato paste.
- Add about a cup of the mushroom cooking stock to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the mushrooms until they are very dark and tender, adding more stock as you to to maintain a sauce. You will use at least 2 cups of the veggie/mushroom stock, maybe 3.
- After about 15 minutes, add the reconstituted dried mushrooms to the skillet with some more stock. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to your preference. Continue to cook until the sauce has reduced and coats the mushrooms, then stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and serve as desired.
- Make the risotto: In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute for two minutes to soften, then add the rice and garlic to the skillet. Stir for two minutes more to coat the rice in the butter and soften the garlic. Add the wine to the skillet and stir until the wine is reduced. Repeat with the stock; add half a cup of stock at a time and stir until the liquid is absorbed, then add more to the skillet. After about 25 minutes, the rice should be cooked. You may not use all of the stock. When the rice is tender, add salt and pepper to your taste and stir in the mascarpone cheese.
- Serve the risotto topped with some mushrooms and a pile of microgreens for freshness and flavor.
Use any kind of mushrooms you like or can find! I found a wild mushroom blend at Whole Foods and used a fresh blend from my regular grocery store. Even just fresh cremini mushrooms and dried porcini would be wonderful.