Risotto, a true North Italian specialty, is a very simple, delicious yet versatile dish. It gets its luxurious and rich texture from the starches released when Arborio rice is stirred and cooked. In today's recipe, in order to accentuate the risotto's natural creaminess, I added a little bit of pungent goat cheese along with earthy champignon mushrooms and thyme for a burst of flavors.
Although the risotto recipes are countless, the basic cooking technique remains the same for every dish. It begins by sauteing chopped onions in olive oil and/or butter which ensures the flavor base on which the rest of the recipe is build on. When the onions are tender, the rice is added and stirred until well coated in oil. A splash of white wine, in this case, is used next, and once absorbed, small ladles of hot broth are added. At this point, the risotto must be cooked on low heat and stir constantly. The final flavorings are added at the end then the risotto is removed from heat and a little bit of butter is added for extra-creaminess. The risotto is done when each grain remains slightly firm to the bite.
The today's mushroom risotto with thyme and goat cheese recipe has a soft and delicate consistency and aroma. There is just enough goat cheese to balance the mushrooms with tartness without overwhelming the dish. It's also very filling which makes it a suitable choice for delicious dinner on a chilly Autumn evening.
Yield: 4 servings Time: 45 minutes
- 300g Arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 l (4 cups) vegetable stock
- 200 ml (0.85 cup) dry white whine
- 300g champignon mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, caps finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves plus more for garnish
- 200g goat cheese
- Pour the vegetable stock into a small saucepan and heat it to a simmer. Keep it simmering over low heat.
- In a large pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the diced onions and minced garlic cloves and sauté until tender for about 5 minutes.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and cook, for 3 more minutes until they begin to release liquid.
- Add the Arborio rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to make sure the grains are covered with oil.
- Increase the heat and add the white wine. Stir until fully absorbed.
- Decrease the heat to medium-low and pour small portions of the simmering stock, one ladle at the time. Allow the rice to absorb the stock, stirring constantly. Add the next ladle and repeat the process until all the stock is mixed in and absorbed.
- When the rice is cooked but not to dry (meaning that there is still a bit of stock in it), add the goat cheese and thyme and stir for a few minutes until fully incorporated.
- Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with a thyme spring and serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks:
- Never wash the Arborio rice. In this case, the starch is important to keep the risotto rich and creamy.
- If your risotto needs more cooking but your broth is finished, add a little hot water instead.