Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mushroom and Chicken Risotto


Mushroom season is upon us; it was getting cooler outside; comfort food was calling. Comfort food for me is making risotto at home. It's easy and ridiculously tasty.

Ingredients (for two with leftovers):
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/2 garlic clove, minced
- couple of handfuls of mushrooms (cremini work well, porcini are flavorful, this was a medley), chopped
- chicken breast (one), cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 1/12 handfuls of frozen peas
- 1/2 cup arborio rice
- 6+ cups of chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
- olive oil
- salt and pepper

Preparation:
Warm the chicken stock in a pan over medium to medium low heat. In a medium pan, add olive oil and brown the chicken pieces over medium high heat. When browned, remove from the pot and save in a bowl. Turn down the heat to medium; add the onion and the garlic, season. After a couple of minutes add the mushrooms (add olive oil if the pan looks too dry) and season. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the arborio rice and stir until the oil has coated the rice - about one minute. Add the 1/2 cup of red wine (I used the Nebbiolo I was drinking with dinner) and stir until the wine is gone. Add chicken stock 1 cup at a time, stirring until the stock is mostly gone each time. Continuously stir until the rice is pretty much cooked through (al dente). You'll start to see a creaminess and the rice will still have a little bite to it. Taste for seasoning. Add the butter and stir until melted, then turn off the heat and add the grated cheese. Stir through and serve immediately. It should be a little runny, although not soupy, nor stodgy.

A note on the mushrooms: I have used dried porcini mushrooms in risotto with great success. A little goes a long way - reconstitute using hot water for about 10 minutes and use the strained liquid in the risotto. Just the smell from opening a packet of dried porcini mushrooms gives you a kick of earthy, woodsy pungency.

Wine Pairing:
De Forville '07 Langhe Nebbiolo: lighter bodied, good tannins, well structured, red fruits, balanced. A wonderful pairing with the risotto. The earthiness and creaminess of the risotto are countered with the acidity and tannins of the Nebbiolo.

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