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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Going Wild For Mushrooms

Over the Thanksgiving weekend we were in New York.  Truly, there is no better place to be at this time of the year than New York.  There was a little winter snap in the air and a decided spring in my step.

Of course, I did a little shopping -- although most of it for my kids.  They seem to both be addicted to Patagonia.  My son refers to it as "Patagucci", which is troubling on so many levels.  This is outerwear for heaven's sake.  And it's outwear that's designed for doing actual outdoor activities.  Patagucci? I may have to rethink this whole thing.

In any case, while I may not have come home with a carload of shoes and handbags, I did come home with a real treat -- wild mushrooms.

Wait.  Before you get all "I'd rather have new shoes", lets talk about the beauty that is a wild mushroom.  There are so many varieties and they all have a unique and delicious taste.  Of course, that's if you like mushrooms, which I do.

We were up visiting my sister-in-law who lives right near Columbia University.  As we were coming back from breakfast (at Community Foods, which by the way, was delicious), she pointed out this little farmers market that ran for about a block in front of the Columbia Bookstore.  Right there, just waiting for me, was a a stall with gorgeous mushrooms..

I had to have some.

So, there we stood in the cold, picking out mushrooms.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but as is often the case, I let the ingredients do the talking and last night we had a delicious wild mushroom risotto.

My kids may have gotten fancy outerwear, but I got fancy mushrooms.

Recipe:  Wild Mushroom "Magic" Risotto - Take Two
(Adapted from Ina Garten, How Easy is That, 2010)

* Note:  You may recall that I made a wild mushroom risotto about a year ago, using Ina's baked risotto recipe.  In the interest of science, I tried it again, tweaking it a bit.  This version is better than my first try.  Success!

FYI:  Mushroom stock is available in most supermarkets.  In a pinch, you can use chicken stock.


1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
4 1/2 cups simmering mushroom stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and saute until they are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the shallots and saute until they are soft as well, 3-4 minutes.

Add the rice and 4 cups of the stock to the Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining 1/2 cup of  stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, over low heat on the stove, until the rice is thick and creamy.  Serve hot.

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