Baked Mushroom Risotto

Baked Mushroom Risotto

For all their lovely creamy textures and rich flavors, I suspect that risottos would be a far more popular part of everyday dinners if it weren't for all the fuss and stirring of their traditional reduction-based cooking methods. But as it turns out, slow baking controls the release of the starches on the outside of the risotto rice grains that give risottos their creaminess almost just as well as the typical slow and repetitive stop-pour-and-stir methods, and of course it makes cooking them so much easier that there should be almost nothing to deter you from trying it.

This idea comes Delia Smith's Vegetarian Collection, whose baked mushroom risotto I've adapted to make it even richer and more "mushroom-y". Serve with chickpea and cabbage soup for a warming and satisfying winter meal.

Baked Mushroom RisottoBaked Mushroom Risotto
Recipe by
Adapted from Delia's Vegetarian Collection
Cuisine: Italian
Published on December 14, 2007

Rich, creamy and fuss-free baked mushroom risotto — a great alternative to the stirring methods when you haven't the time to spare

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Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz (14 g) dried mushrooms, any variety
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 8 oz (225 g) portabello mushrooms, stemmed and chopped into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 oz (30 g) fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 oz (30 g) fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • fresh ground black pepper
Instructions:
  • Soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water for 30 minutes to soften.

  • Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 150° and chop the other ingredients. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan or wok over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes. Now stir in the portabello mushrooms and celery. Leave aside while simmering to prepare the now softened dried mushrooms.

  • Drain the dried mushrooms in a fine strainer over a bowl to reserve the soaking liquid. Squeeze excess liquid from the mushrooms by hand, then chop finely. Add to the other mushrooms and vegetables, and continue to cook gently while the mushroom sweat their juices out — about 20 minutes. While they are cooking, put a large oven-proof casserole dish in the pre-heated oven to warm.

  • Add the rice to the mushrooms and vegetables and stir well to give each grain a coating of butter. Pour in the water, vermouth and the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms and stir in the salt. Raise the heat to moderately high and bring everything up to the simmering point.

  • Transfer the mixture to the warmed casserole dish and stir only enough to spread evenly over the dish's surface. Place uncovered in the centre of the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and gently stir in the grated Parmesan, being careful not to break the rice grains. Raise the heat to 175° and return the risotto to the oven. Cook until the liquid has evaporated — depending on the size of the casserole dish and the surface area of the risotto, this may take between 15 and 30 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and stir in fresh ground black pepper to taste. Cover with a dish towel until serving.

  • Serve as soon as possible garnished with shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 3 to 4 main servings or 6 to 8 side servings
Baked Mushroom Risotto

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