Mushroom and Pea Risotto

5 Aug
This morning, after a long day and night of work yesterday, I managed to drag myself out of bed and go for a run. This was a momentous occasion that left me very happy and proclaiming “I feel like an athlete!”

See, last week I finally got back to running. After the hurt back healed, I was working furiously to gather some data for the meeting I went to in Wisconsin. I had very little time for anything else, including working out, and in a twist of irony, I didn’t even use the data I gathered.

It was only 3 miles, but it was hilly and a beautiful morning and I was happy just to be running again. I have my sights set on a half-marathon in December, so I’ve got to get back into running shape!

To celebrate tonight, I am making one of my favorite dishes, risotto. Risotto may sound scary, as you may have heard it takes time and patience. Both are true, but fortunately, it takes very little effort or thought. It mostly consists of stirring and adding liquid to a pan. Pretty easy, huh?

Mushroom and Pea Risotto
Cook time: 20 to 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 as a side dish, 3-4 as a main dish

Ingredients:
1/2 tbl butter
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 cup arborio rice (please don’t use any other type of rice. It won’t turn out right if you do)
1/2 C dry white wine (optional)
6 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 package sliced mushrooms (about 8 button mushrooms)
1/4 C fresh or frozen peas
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese

Procedure:
In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat (the added oil keeps the butter from burning, but the butter adds a delicious taste). Once melted, add the rice and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring, until the rice becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine if you want, and cook a few minutes more. Add enough chicken stock to cover the rice completely.

From here on is the easy part. Keep the liquid bubbling, but not boiling, and stir regularly. Once the liquid level starts to get low, add more stock. Keep going, and the liquid should begin to thicken from the starch in the rice. Check the rice and see if it’s done (should take about 15 to 20 minutes). When it is, and the liquid is thick (scrape it away from the bottom of the skillet; it should take a few seconds for the liquid to fill in the empty space) add the parmesan cheese and the peas. Be aware, you may not need all of the stock, or you might. It varies.

Stir about 3-5 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and the peas are warmed through. Eat and enjoy!

To change it around, try using diced asparagus instead of peas, and maybe leaving out the mushrooms. You could even add chopped ham to the risotto along with some veggies to make it a heartier dish by itself. Personally, I could eat it without anything other additions and be a happy girl.

I’ll be serving this with pan-seared chicken and squash. Maybe I’ll even scrounge up something for dessert!

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