Mamabee

Vegetable Risotto

Vegetable Risotto

Vegetable Risotto

Dried mushrooms are rehydrated in hot water, while lettuce and fennel are gently cooked in melted butter in a large, sturdy pot and then set aside. Onions take their place in the pot, followed by adding short-grain Arborio rice and hot water. This marks the beginning of the classic risotto-making ritual, where the cook stirs diligently and patiently.
(I attempted making this dish using the mushroom stock, but it resulted in a too muddy and dank flavor.) The finely diced rehydrated mushrooms are introduced into the pot, along with a bit more water, and more stirring ensues. Finally, towards the end, the cooked lettuce and fennel, some Parmesan cheese, a generous sprinkling of nutmeg, and any remaining butter are added to the mix. The result is truly remarkable, especially in terms of the lettuce, which imparts a delicate mineral note above the velvety richness of the rice, reminiscent of a forest floor. —Sam Sifton
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • ½ ounce dried mushrooms
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 green leaf lettuce leaves shredded
  • 1 leaf of a fennel bulb finely diced
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt
  • Nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour hot water. Allow them to steep for 20 minutes, squeeze out excess liquid, and finely chop the mushrooms. Set aside the mushroom broth for future use.
  • Bring four cups of water to a boil over high heat in a saucepan. Keep the water hot.
  • In a heavy saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once it starts foaming, add the lettuce and fennel, cooking until they become tender. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. Add a tablespoon of butter and sauté the onion until it turns translucent. Add the Arborio rice and stir until it becomes glossy and heated.
  • Add a cup of hot water to the mixture and stir until the liquid is absorbed, which should take approximately 5 minutes. Add another cup of hot water and continue stirring until it's absorbed. Introduce the chopped mushrooms, a pinch of salt, and another half cup of hot water. Once the liquid has been absorbed, taste the rice to check if it offers a slight resistance when bitten. If it's too soft, add the remaining water and stir to combine.
  • Incorporate the cooked lettuce, fennel, Parmesan cheese, and any remaining butter. Finish by grating a generous amount of nutmeg over the mixture.