Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Green Herb Risotto with Savory Mushrooms

Spring is finally here, and with it, an abundance of fresh green veggies and herbs. Living in Southern California means there isn't exactly a dearth of fresh produce in the winter, but with spring comes those tender green morsels that potatoes and squash just can't compete with. 
Freshly shelled sweet green peas!

When I saw this recipe for Green Risotto on Serious Eats, I knew I had to make it. Fresh herbs and spinach are pureed and added to creamy rice, then topped with savory sauteed mushrooms.

The original recipe was vegan but I just had to add some of the rich, nutty Parmesan cheese I had on hand. In the recipe below I add freshly shelled peas and also double the amount of mushrooms called for in the original. The risotto itself is rich and herbaceous, but the mushrooms really add an extra blast of umami flavor to each bite.

We had the risotto along with some roasted artichokes, crispy red radishes and Mediterranean dips and flatbread from the farmer's market. It made for a wonderful tapas-style Sunday lunch.

On to the recipe: 

 Basil, parsley, spinach and green onion are blanched, pureed with veggie stock, then set aside.
Fresh spinach and herbs
Onion, green onion, garlic and rice are sauteed in olive oil and butter until the rice begins to turn golden.
 Veggie stock is added, the pan is covered, and the rice cooks for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes.
 In the mean time, saute mushrooms along with soy sauce, broth, and lemon juice.
Mushrooms halfway done, just after they've released their own juices.
 Add more broth to the rice and stir it constantly, until it takes on a thick, creamy texture. Then add in the puree and parm.
 Top with mushrooms, freshly grated Parmesan, and herbs. YUM!

Green Herb Risotto with Savory Mushrooms


6 C vegetable stock
1/2 C fresh parsley
1/2 C fresh basil
2 C amaranth spinach
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
1 green onion, chopped and white separated from green
1 1/2 C medium grain white rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 C freshly shelled peas
1/2 C fresh grated Parmesan

For the mushrooms
1 T olive oil
16 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 C stock (reserved from the 6 C above)
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 t soy sauce

1. In a large pot, bring the veggie stock to a boil. Blanch the parsley, basil, green onion tops and spinach for about 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water. Turn off heat.

2. Add the blanched herbs and spinach to a blender with 1/2 c of the veggie stock and blend until smooth.

4. Add oil and butter to a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the yellow onion and white part of the green onion and saute for about 1 minute, then add the rice and saute, coating each grain in oil, until the rice turns gold. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.

5. Add 4 cups of stock to the pan, stirring and making sure to get up anything stuck to the bottom. Then cover the pan and reduce heat to low.

6. Cook rice for ten minute without stirring - then stir once, cover, and cook for more 10 minutes, until rice is al dente and most of the stock has been absorbed.

7. In the meantime, make the mushrooms. Heat 1 T olive oil in a saute pan, then add mushrooms. Stir occasionally and cook until mushrooms are browned and have released their liquids, and then cook until the liquid has evaporated.

8. Add 1/4 broth to deglaze the mushroom pan, scraping up the yummy brown bits. Add lemon juice and soy sauce, and cook until the liquid has reduced to almost a glaze. Remove from heat, then stir in lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.

9. Back to the risotto - it's almost done! Add the remaining vegetable stock and stir the rice rapidly  This will cause the starches to break up, and the rice will get nicely thick and creamy. Add the peas (they need hardly any time at all to cook).

10. Once the rice is creamy, add the Parmesan cheese and stir until it is combined. Then, add in the pureed herbs and spinache, and stir until it's thoroughly mixed in,

11. Serve topped with the mushroom mixture, and garnish with Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley  and a lemon wedge.

Not pictured: lemon wedge :(


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