With summer in full swing, we're ready to pile our provincial tablecloths with carafes of natural wine, and humble flavourful fare. If you're cooking for a crowd of vegetarians chances are you'll find no better option than a simple risotto. Thankfully, we have the New York Times and their delightful spin on cooking a la alfresco. The combination of lemon, pea and mushroom is a stand out for those who love a punch but still look for something adequately nourishing. For those afternoons when you'd rather spend your time chatting to friends the risotto is the perfect simmer and stir. The peas give it a nice hit of greenery and depth of flavour.
Of course if you want to be so bold for your fellow meat eaters, you could always add the edition of some chorizo for a Spanish spin, but in keeping with what nature has given us we're staying green here. This is a luxurious and sophisticated dish best served with lashings of parmesan finished with a toss of parsley. Serve in the sunshine accompanied by your favourite platter.
Find the full recipe below. Bon Appetit!
Mushroom Risotto With Lemon and Peas
- 6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock, as needed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion, or 2 shallots, minced
- 4 cups of wild mushrooms, cleaned if necessary and torn or sliced into smaller pieces if thick (small wild mushrooms should be left whole, mushrooms like maitake can just be separated into small pieces)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or chopped sage
- zest of one lemon
- 1 ½ cups arborio or carnaroli rice
- ½ cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, or a mixture of Parmesan and Pecorino Romano
- Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan, with a ladle nearby. Make sure stock is well seasoned, and keep it simmering on the stove.
- Heat oil in a wide, heavy nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add onions or shallots and cook gently until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Turn up heat and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until they begin to sweat, about 3 minutes, then add garlic and thyme or sage and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heat until they are soft. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add rice and stir until grains begin to crackle. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine is no longer visible in pan. Stir in enough simmering stock to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly. Cook, stirring often and vigorously, until stock is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of stock and continue cooking, not too fast and not too slowly, stirring often and adding more stock when rice is almost dry, for 15 minutes.
- Add peas, if using, and continue adding stock and stirring for another 10 minutes. Rice should be tender all the way through but still al dente. Taste now and adjust seasoning.
- Add another ladleful or two of stock to rice. Stir in parsley and Parmesan, and remove from heat. Season with black pepper and serve right away in wide soup bowls or on plates.