A few months back, I wrote an entry on stone soup, which suggested that people freeze vegetable peels and bits that they would normally compost or throw away, and then use them to make stock. If you followed that advice, you will have noticed by now that you generate a fair amount of stock. We end up making about 8 cups of it a week.
This week, I found myself with about six cups of stock to use up, and was in the mood for something heartier than soup. We also had a few oyster and porcini mushrooms that were drying up in the vegetable crisper – all of which added up to the perfect excuse to make a white wine and mushroom risotto.
I started by rehydrating the mushrooms in white wine, which not only made the mushrooms nice and plump, but also gave me a rich-coloured mushroomy liquid to start the risotto with. (Bonus! That wouldn’t happen with fresh mushrooms.) That, plus a stone soup broth that had strong corn, beet and celery notes made for a dish with a complex palette of flavours and a creamy texture. Not bad, considering that the slightly shriveled mushrooms and stock ingredients were all things that would have ended up in the bin in many homes.
Of course, we ended up with more risotto than we could eat in one sitting – but the leftovers made for very good risotto cakes.
One thing I should mention is that making risotto the old-fashioned way takes time (about 45 minutes) and much that time is spent stirring. If you don’t have time for that, you can make it in a rice cooker with a lot less fuss (there are a few recipes on-line). I’ve tried that, and the result was quite good, though not as good.
Rescued mushroom risotto (serves 6)
- ½ cup dried mushrooms
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups stone soup (or other) stock
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ large onion, sliced thin
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1½ cups Arborio rice
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cover mushrooms in wine, and allow to reconstitute. This can take up to 30 minutes, depending on how dry the mushrooms were to begin with.
- While the mushrooms are reconstituting, heat your stock in a deep skillet, and keep it warm over medium low heat.
- When the mushrooms are reconstituted, set the liquid aside for later use. Sauté the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until they are tender – then set those aside for later use.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat, then toss in the sliced onion and crushed garlic, and sauté until the onion is translucent.
- Add in the Arborio rice, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add in the liquid from the mushrooms, and stir until it the liquid absorbed.
- Add in the warm soup stock, one ladleful at a time, and stir until the liquid is absorbed. When you’ve used up about ¾ of the stock, add in the mushrooms, and keep going. After each ladleful is absorbed, you should taste the risotto. When the the rice is al dente, and the sauce is creamy, it will be done. You may need a little less stock than indicated, or a little more. If you need more, and have run out, just use water that has been boiled and is still warm.
- When the risotto is done, stir in one tablespoon of butter, the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.
|Amount of shriveled mushrooms saved from landfill per six portions of rescued mushroom risotto.||1/4 cup|
|Approximate volume of shriveled mushrooms that could be saved from landfill every year if everyone in the US had 4 servings of rescued mushroom risotto a year.||12,000 cubic meters|
|Approximate volume of the Tower of Pisa.||10,000 cubic meters|