food

Mushroom Risotto

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Photo Credit: Emily Chao

Exciting news everyone! I am working with my friend Emily Chao to put some videos up on the blog. She is an incredible editor and you should definitely check out her website to see some of the amazing videos she’s shot and edited. If you’re in New York for the Tribeca Film Festival, be sure to check out one of the more recent projects she has worked on called Lemon.

We wanted to try something simple just to see how the lighting was in the kitchen, so I wasn’t super careful when I was making this risotto. Some of the more culinary savvy among you may notice that I added the wine before the rice (Quelle horreur!), but the risotto turned out quite nice anyway.

I used morel mushrooms in this dish because they were so beautiful at the green grocer, but any assortment of wild mushrooms will do. If you make this dish with vegetable stock, it can very easily become a great vegetarian dish, and I would even suggest adding some asparagus or fresh peas to the mushrooms while sautéing to make an even heartier meal.

You may not need all the liquid in this recipe, and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out the first time. Risotto is one of those dishes that you need to practice. A good risotto is slightly soupy and the rice grains should be distinguishable with a good bite to them, like pasta cooked al dente.

Mushroom Risotto
serves 3-4

8oz ariboro rice, rinsed
24 oz chicken or vegetable broth
4 tbs butter
2 shallots, minced
½ c dry white wine
1 c grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese, plus  more to finish
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced (I didn’t have any, but it really could have used some garlic)
Parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring broth to a simmer and leave covered over low heat to keep warm.
  2. Over medium heat, melt 2 tbs of butter in a large sauce pan.
  3. Cook the shallots with some salt and pepper in the butter until they are translucent.
  4. Bring up heat to medium-high and add the rice, stir for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the wine and mix until it is mostly absorbed.
  6. Bring the temperature down to medium-low hear and add the broth one ladle at a time. Stir the mixture occasionally and wait until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding more, this should take about 30 minutes. Taste as you go to see if the risotto needs more seasoning.
  7. As the rice gets close to being done, sautee the mushrooms and garlic over high heat with the remaining 1 oz of butter until they are browned.
  8. When the rice has a nice texture, add the grated cheese and mushrooms. mix in and serve warm with a drizzle of good olive oil, a dusting of cheese and chopped parsley.

 

White Bean Stew

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As a kid, I hated leftovers. I knew that as soon as I heard the ding of the microwave, I was sentenced to a bowl of a sadder, soggier version of the dinner I had eaten the night before. The flavors were sure to be muted, and the center of the bowl was most certainly going to be just lukewarm. I was a child with very high standards.

I wasn’t picky, I would eat almost everything (except Chicken Cacciatori, sorry mom). I just valued food diversity. So, when my mom told us that it was “fend for yourself night,” I would experiment in the kitchen to avoid leftovers. This meant that I only had the contents of the fridge and pantry to work with, and really forced me to be creative.

As an adult, I don’t have the same aversion to leftovers, because no one truly has the time or energy to cook a full meal every day. So, I have learned how to make dishes that actually improve with age. I have found that braising is the best technique to produce a dish like this, and although it takes time to cook in the oven. It can always be made the night before, and be gently reheated in the oven for a relatively quick weeknight meal. This dish is one of my favorites, and is a perfect alternative to the more traditional braised dishes that tend to be very heavy and hard to eat as the weather gets warmer.

I also like that I can make this as a vegetarian meal, but I usually add swiss-chard, spinach or kale. This recipe is pictured with a saffron tagliatelle that I found at a local Italian market, but it can be served with your favorite pasta, or some crusty bread and a light green salad. The dried white beans can also be substituted for 2 14oz cans of white beans if you are in a rush, but I really urge you to use dried beans.

White Bean Stew
with Garlic Sausage, Fennel, Onion and Carrots

8 oz dried white beans (preferably Cannellini or Great Northern)
1 clove garlic, whole
1 bayleaf
4 tbs olive oil
1 lb Italian or Toulouse sausage*, crumbled
1 onion, sliced ¼”
1 bulb fennel, sliced ¼”
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1″
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c dry white wine
3 c bone broth and 1 c water**
salt and pepper to taste
Parsley, chopped (optional)

Soak Beans:
Boil 4 c water with whole garlic clove and 1 bayleaf Rinse dried beans and add to boiling water. Turn off and cover for 1 hour.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°f, with rack in the middle.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven until it is shimmery and add the sausage, cook until just browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and add the onion, fennel, garlic , and carrot. Cook until the onion is just barely translucent.
  4. Add the wine and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, reduce heat to low.
  5. Drain beans and discard the garlic clove, be sure to keep bay leaf. Add soaked beans and bay leaf to the pan, mix together.
  6. Add the sausage, or greens if you are making a vegetarian version.
  7. Pour in the broth, water, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  8. Place dutch oven in the middle of the oven, and let cook uncovered for one hour.
  9. Stir and let cook another 30 min- 1hour, or until the beans are finished.
  10. Serve with chopped parsley over buttered pasta or crusty bread.***

To reheat: place in a 350°f oven until warmed through (about 30 minutes) or bring to a simmer on the stove.

*To make the dish vegetarian omit the sausage, and coarsely chop 1 bunch of spinach, swiss chard, or kale

**For vegetarian version use 4 cups vegetable stock. If you don’t have bone broth use 4 cups chicken broth.

***Try quinoa or brown rice pasta for a gluten free alternative or use a nice olive oil instead of butter to keep the dish vegan.