Mushroom Risotto: A Step-By-Step Guide

I normally loathe making step-by-step guides. When I cook and am in the zone, it’s hard for me to break the flow and take out the camera. But, risotto is such a lengthy process, that it’s a little easier. These step-by-step guides take forever to write and assemble though, so enjoy this one while it lasts.

I have found that the key to good risotto is constant stirring for about 50 minutes to an hour, on medium-low heat. This requires a glass of wine, a chair to sit on, and some sort of book or smartphone to get you through the hour. It’s going to get hot and sweaty and your arm will feel like falling off.

At one point I whined to Dhiren that I was feeling dizzy, and he rescued me while I sat in the living room in front of the fan. So, it helps to have a significant other nearby to take over for you if you’re weak, like me.

Though even he complained, “You have to stir this for an hour?”

Here’s my step-by-step guide to a delicious risotto, adapted from this version on All Recipes.

  • 5 cups chicken broth, divided
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Combination of portobello, white mushrooms and/or crimini. I used a combination of all three. Use as much as you like. I used two portabellos, a bag of Crimini and 1/2 pound of white. It depends on your preference.
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Step 1: Prep your ingredients. As you need to be in front of the pan stirring, you won’t have time to chop and grate, so do it before. Clean and chop all your mushrooms & shallots, grate the Parmesan and have everything measured out.
Step 2: Heat up the chicken broth in a separate pot.
Step 3: In a big skillet, heat up some oil and cook the mushrooms until soft. They won’t be cooked much longer after this point, so be sure they are done. Pour the juice and mushrooms into a bowl and set aside.
Step 4: Heat some oil in the large skillet, and then saute the shallots until light.
Step 5: Pour in the rice and stir continuously until slightly clear.
Step 6: Play with your rice.
Step 7: Slowly pour in the wine, little by little and stir until it is fully incorporated.
Step 8: Add the chicken broth one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Do not add the next ladle until all the broth is incorporated. This step should take anywhere from 50-60 minutes, depending on your skillet and heat. I like the starch to release slower, which takes a lower heat and more stirring. The rice should ooze like lava, but still remain a little al dente. Mushy risotto is no good.
Step 9: Once all the broth is incorporated, remove from heat and mix-in the mushrooms, butter, chives and Parmesan.
Step 10: Serve immediately and enjoy with wine and a salad.
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Four-Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are SO tasty and versatile, not to mention easy and fast to make. Since bread is off-limits for the first two weeks on the South Beach Diet as well, they work as a nice substitution for bread in pizzas and as an accompaniment to cheese.

Soft or full-fat cheeses are not allowed on the SBD until later or in moderation, so if you are really strict about no cheating whatsoever, you can substitute it with a reduced fat cheese. Dhiren brought home these two cheeses though and they worked out nicely and added lots of flavor. I don’t think 2 tbsp of cheese is going to set me back or rekindle any cravings.

To make these lovelies, you need:

  • 3 stuffing mushrooms (I made one serving)
  • 1/2 c. skim Ricotta
  • 1 tbsp Gouda
  • 1 tbsp Chambozla (you can substitute any type of soft cheese for this)
  • 2 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Clean mushrooms and remove the “gills” on the inside with a spoon. Heat a skillet and then cook mushrooms for 4-6 minutes on medium heat. This reduces the time needed in the oven.

2. After 3-4 minutes, toss in the minced shallots, garlic and parsley and sauté in a tsp of olive oil. Scrape into a bowl, add the cheeses and incorporate together with a fork.

3. Place mushrooms in a baking dish with the rest of the olive oil (I just used a cake pan– whatevs!) and fill them with the cheese mixture. Salt & pepper them, and then place in the oven to cook for 5-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and the cheeses bubbly. Next time I try this, I’m going to try broiling it, so the cheese gets that nice browned look on top.

4. Decorate with a couple sprigs of parsley or maybe one of these bad boys: