The kitchen's still my favourite place to be, so what can I do about it? I guess I should turn to cooking instead than. As my Sis aptly pointed out, "You still gotta eat your three meals, don't you?"
Mushroom risotto topped with toasted panko
Ingredients to make mushroom risotto
I don't really mind cooking, it's pretty similar to baking actually, the prepping and measuring of ingredients is kinda the same, just that you handle different produce. I think it's psychological, but handling sugar, chocolate or fruits makes me happier than handling raw meat and vegetables.
I decided that I shall cook mushroom risotto for lunch one weekend, and bought everything I needed the day before. I was a little too happy at the mushroom aisle, and popped three boxes of various mushrooms into my grocery basket. A box of mini portobello, a box of Korean shimeji, and a big box of local "premium" medley of mushrooms (consisting of the three other unknown species - the middle two and bottom left, in the above picture).
There were several recipes online, using various mushrooms, and different ingredients. I browsed through all of them, and decided on using one that doesn't use cream (since I read somewhere that a true risotto should only use butter or cheese to make it creamy). I modified the recipe as seriously, I think cooking's all about the feel. Those who cook would probably agree with me that sometimes, following a recipe to a T is not really how we operate, we probably add a little more of this, and a pinch of extra of that, and perhaps even swap out certain ingredients. And that's exactly what I did for the recipe.
The original recipe was Asian fusion, I swapped the ingredients to make it more of a regular risotto. Dashi for chicken broth, sake for dry white wine, shallots for a whole onion, and added in minced garlic and mixed herbs for more flavour. Or course, I also used a wide variety of mushrooms to ensure that the dish has an intense mushroom flavour.
The results were superb and immensely satisfying. This is definitely a keeper in my book. The toasted panko crumbs were ingenious as they provided a nice buttery crunchy note to the whole dish. Thumbs up to the recipe inventor. My Sis came home later than expected, so when I heated up the dish, I added a little more chicken broth, thus making the dish not so al-dente anymore. Nonetheless, she and her boyfriend both said the dish was good, with every mouthful chock full of mushrooms. Exactly. That's how a homemade dish should be - full of freshest flavourful ingredients (compared to some restaurants who might skimp on certain ingredients...).
I still have a bag of arborio rice left over, I reckon another risotto dish should be in the upcoming future. I made sure that I had leftover risotto as I also wanted to make another dish...that'll be revealed in another post!
Mushroom risotto topped with toasted panko (adapted loosely from Marc at No Recipes)
5 - 6 cups chicken broth (depending on how much liquid your rice absorbs to get to al dente texture)
1/4 tsp salt
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
300g mushrooms (mixed varieties - thoroughly cleaned and diced)
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cups dry white wine
280g arborio rice (1.5 slightly heaping cups)
3/8 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs - I used a Korean brand panko and it turned out fine)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Heat a large non-stick frying pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil until hot. Add the onions and saute onion it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tbsp butter and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms take on a light brown color. Stir in the dried mixed herbs and garlic, then add the rice and stir to coat for a minute, stirring to coat each grain of rice.
Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated, then add two ladles of chicken broth and stir constantly until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding chicken broth 1 ladle at a time, stirring constantly until the rice has reached a texture you’re happy with. Stop at about 4.5 or 5 cups for al dente risotto.
While the risotto is cooking, heat a second pan and add the remaining 2 tbsp butter. Add the panko and toast the breadcrumbs in the butter, stirring constantly until they are golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to the pan, fry the shimeji mushroom stalks until they are browned and season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer the mushroom to a plate.
When the risotto is done, add the cheese and butter and stir until they are incorporated. Taste for salt and more if necessary. Plate the risotto and top with the sauteed shimeiji mushroom stalks and toasted panko.