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!
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?
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.
Debra She Who Seeks says
I’ve heard that making risotto is not for the faint of heart, and I guess it’s true!
I think your problem is in the stirring. Stir less often & let the simmering broth do its’ job to release the starch. It speeds up the proces immensely. I’ve seen some dring chefs stir only when you add the broth and at teh end when you add the cheese.
Jamie Ridler says
I’m glad it ended up yummy. The challenge of risotto seems to just be the time it takes – it certainly takes its time. As long as you can just lean back and let it be, it’s all good.
It’s become a bit of a tradition that Justin and I make risotto together on New Year’s Eve. What a way to celebrate!
I didn’t have half the amount of trouble you seemed to experience when I first made risotto! (http://piecurious.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/best-rice-ever/) I really think you need to try again, perhaps with a different recipe? I used Mark Bittman’s recipe for mushroom risotto from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and it was not only super simple but turned out amazing! Give ‘er another go because it really doesn’t have to be so hard!
Ha ha ha Suz, I loved your experience! Did you add 2 extra cups to the recipe? Oh my gosh! That definitely added to your cooking time. Regardless, I’m glad it tasted great in the end, and neat idea with the frittata.
P.S. I reheated the risotto the next day and it tasted good too.
God..all your dishes look so damn good! I always come to your blog to snoop and get ideas! Do you ever make any cajun style dishes?
Suzie Ridler says
Not to worry, once I have recovered from this disaster I probably will try again. Good to know you can reheat risotto Val! No, I have never made anything Cajun Brian, would love to learn about that style of food.
Love all that mushroom, shroomy, creamy goodness. You did a fabulous job, you’d make an Italian momma proud with that dish let me tell ya! And yes, it can be reheated, I do it all the time, but you had quite the creative leftover solution as well.
Risotto scares me so I’ve never attempted it. You are inspiring me to give it a try (and have extra stock on hand, just in case!)
Ken Bowie says
Gotta love Risotto…I’m sure it was delicious!!! Never time anything to risotto lol…and always have extra stock…two lessons well learned. Great job!