Monday, October 11, 2010

Cheese Risotto with Mushroom Ragu


Who doesn't love a little cheesy risotto?  Top it with boozy mushrooms and sausage and helllloooooo!  You've got dinner success!  The cheese in this dish is pretty spendy, but I swear it's worth it.  I could survive on mimolette.  Well, that and meat.  Oh, and I guess some water.  But if we're adding to the list I'd also like some wine, Smirnoff Ice (yes, I like that stuff ... so Ice me, bros), all my tunes,  Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jimmy Fallon.  What?  A girl can dream.


OK, so here's what you need to get going:
  • 1.5 cups arborio rice
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 cup finely grated mimolette (plus more if you want)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • one hot sausage, casing removed
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & white pepper 
MAKE THE RAGU:
  1. Cook the sausage in a pan over medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon.  Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
  2. In same pan, heat 1 tbsp butter and about 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over high heat.  Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring, until starting to brown (FYI, mushrooms like high heat, so don't be tempted to turn it down much if at all).
  3. Add brandy and cook until evaporated.  Turn the heat down and add sausage back to the pan with the mushrooms and warm.  Season with salt and keep warm on low while you cook the risotto.
MAKE THE RISOTTO:
  1. Crumble the saffron into a small bowl and add about 1 tbsp water.  Let the saffron steep.
  2. Heat the chicken stock in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.  Keep warm to add to the risotto.
  3. In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp butter and about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat (don't ever adjust to more than medium).  Add the onion and cook until translucent but not browned.  Add the risotto and stir frequently until it starts sounding like glass beads (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until wine is evaporated.  Add the saffron water at this point.
  5. Then, start adding ladles of the chicken stock, constantly stirring (the stirring is what releases the starches and makes the risotto nice and saucy vs. like gluey rice).  When there's just a bit of liquid left, add more stock.  Continue doing this until the rice is just barely al dente (it should look mostly translucent with just a small bead of opaque white in the middle).  If you run out of chicken stock, use water.
  6. When the rice is done, remove from heat and stir in the grated cheese.  Stir in the last tbsp of butter.  Season with white pepper and a touch of salt (you shouldn't need much salt as the cheeses are very salty already).
  7. Ladle the risotto into bowls and top with the warmed mushroom ragu.  Enjoy!

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