Mushroom Pea Risotto
When standing over a pot of risotto, it’s not hard to imagine you’re stirring a bubbling cauldron of magical delights, like in Macbeth‘s witches’:
Poison’d entrails, toad, filet of a fenny snake, eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, tongue of dog, adder’s fork, blind-worm’s sting, lizard’s leg, howlet’s wing, scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, witches’ mummy, maw and gulf of ravin’d salt-sea shar, root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark, liver of blaspheming Jew, gall of goat, slips of yew, nose of Turk, Tartar’s lips, finger of birth-strangled babe, tiger’s chaudron, baboon’s blood.
I like the care involved with making risotto. It’s mostly about stirring and timing, but it’s a food that wants your attention. By the end, you’ve seen it through each step of the way; you’ve stood over the hot stove for a good 35-40 minutes, smelling the layers as you build: garlic and shallots, mushrooms, reducing wine, sage, stock, lemon. I think it’s a really gratifying concoction to make. Perfect for a cold night.
The preserved lemon is the secret eye of newt in this version. It ties all the flavors together and makes them just a little bit magic.
Mushroom Pea Risotto
12 oz. stock
3–4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
2 large shallots, peeled and finely diced
3 sage leaves
1 lb. crimini mushrooms, roughly diced
1 c. white wine
1 c. arborio rice
1 bay leaf
1 preserved lemon
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Heat stock in a saucepan and keep it at a gentle simmer.
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add garlic, shallots, and pepper, and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the sage leaves and the mushrooms and coat with oil, cook until the mushrooms release their juices (yum) and start to soften. Add the arborio rice, coat with oil, and cook for another minute.
Add white wine and let it reduce, stirring often. When it gets absorbed into the rice, add the bay leaf and preserved lemon. Then add your first ladleful of the warm stock. Stir frequently and allow it to absorb into the rice. Repeat the ladling and stirring one ladleful at a time until the rice is cooked through and the stock has been absorbed to create a creamy–not soupy–texture. Stir the peas in and cook until they are warmed through.
Turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese. Adjust for salt to taste.