I heated up the oil in a large Dutch oven and then added the shallots which immediately burned. Burned?! Bloody hell! So, I started again. You saute the shallots and then add the mushrooms. No problem. The rest of my dinner was in the oven so I could focus my time and attention on the risotto. What could go wrong?
The lovely Val Outmezguine from The Food Network made a video of her cooking Shroomy Risotto for the first time and totally inspired me to try too. I printed out the recipe for mushroom risotto, did all the prep work ahead of time and then fell asleep for hours on the couch! Not a good start. It was well after dinner time and I was rushing so of course, it was a bit of a disaster. My bad!
After the mushrooms are done releasing their juices you add the risotto and stir to coat. Keep cooking them until they begin to crackle a bit. Then you add some wine. Fine. As this is going on, I am listening to CBC’s Barbara Budd’s final night on As It Happens. I have been a listener to this program for over ten years as I prepare dinner and I will miss Barbara so much. This seemed like a smart thing to do as I stir and stir my risotto, unable to leave it unattended.
I got to the point in the recipe where I started to add the warm broth. You add a ladle full and then stir, stir, stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. This all seemed good and fine until I realized that I had only been doing this for 10 minutes and there was another 10 minutes of cooking time left and I was almost out of broth. Thankfully I remembered that Val said one cup of risotto can absorb five cups of broth so I ran to the fridge, got my carton of broth and heated it up.
Twenty minutes go by and I take a bite. Hard little grains, far from creamy goodness, this was going to take a lot longer than I thought. Fine, I decide to just keep heating up broth, add it to the risotto and keep stirring.
We get to the end of As It Happens where Barbara takes the times to thank all her listeners and I sense some tears coming to my eyes. Then the fire alarm goes off! Crap! I can not leave the stove to fan away smoke from the alarm so I yell for my husband to help. He runs upstairs and gets our huge room ran and blows away the smoke. I turn on the fan above the stove and have no idea where this phantom smoke is coming from. Then I remember that I had timed my salmon wrapped in phyllo pastry to finish along with the risotto ten minutes ago! Yup, that is what is burning. Time to take it out of the oven.
Finally, the risotto was done. I added at least an extra two cups of broth to this risotto and it took a minimum of ten extra minutes for the dish to be done! I was so relieved when I could add the Parmesan and dill (I was out of thyme) and eat!
It was close to 9:30 by the time we ate dinner, no natural light to make the photo look at all appetizing. The saddest part of all? I think my husband prefers the boxed risotto! Comes with less drama and swearing. I loved the risotto, I thought it was fabulous actually but was it worth all that work? Hmm….. And what exactly did I do wrong?
Needless to say we had a lot leftover. Not a dish that reheats well, I put it in a weekend frittata which ended up being absolutely delicious. At least there was a happy ending to my first risotto story.