Rice Up Your Life! Mushroom Risotto is the Perfect Side

 It's heaven on a plate and perfect on it's own or to serve with dinner! It's heaven on a plate and perfect on it's own or to serve with dinner!For years I was afraid of risotto. Not to eat it of course! Risotto is my one of my all time food crushes but I was certainly intimidated by this luscious dish. Once I realized how easy it was to create I became a risotto making fool! Good thing too because my family requests it a lot, especially during the fall and winter when we all crave comfort foods. One of my favorite risottos is a simple mushroom risotto. It's heaven on a plate and perfect on it's own or to serve with roasted chicken, turkey, and wild game.

5 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups flavorful mushrooms (cremini, shitake, or oyster), chopped
2 shallots, minced (or 1/4 cup onion)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

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1. In a pot, warm the broth and keep it on low heat.

2. In large pot or sauce pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and saute for 5 to 8 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Add rice and stir to combine. Toast the rice with the mushrooms for 2 minutes.

3. Add wine and stir frequently until almost all of the wine is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of warm broth and stir frequently until the broth is absorbed and the risotto becomes thick. Repeat the process, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time and waiting to add the next 1/2 cup when the the broth absorbs. This process will take about 20 minutes. After the 41/2 or 5th cup of broth has been added, the rice should be cooked and have a chewy bite to it. If not, just add more broth and continue cooking until the rice is cooked.

4. Once the rice is cooked and the risotto is creamy, add the Parmesan cheese and parsley (optional) and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Risotto should be creamy and a bit loose. If it is too thick, add a little more broth until you have reached the desired consistency.

- By Meredith Steele

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