After my first trimester I was finally able to enjoy cooking and eating again. Certainly I am concerned with nutrition and eating right to nourish my growing baby, so I had to get creative in the kitchen to make up for the nutrients I was missing from my meat proteins. This isn't as important as the dancing baby in my belly, but I wanted my husband to enjoy his food too:)
This recipe hits all the marks, making Mommy and Daddy's palette happy. While I was reconstituting the porcini mushrooms, Bryan walked through the kitchen and exclaimed, "Are you making bacon? It smells so good!" No, of course I am not making bacon (hello, nitrates and overbearing levels of salt- another food aversion I have had this pregnancy!) It was the earthiness of the porcini's that emits this wonderful aroma. Their texture is "meaty" enough that he didn't miss the meat, either. Finally, the best part of this meal: because it smelled so delicious, Bryan kept coming in and even offered to stir, which as a pregnant lady, standing for 20 minutes to stir and ladle hot broth can be a pain in the everything!
Lexy's Mushroom Risotto
.5 oz dried Porcini Mushrooms
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp Grapeseed oil (you can use any kind), plus a teaspoon
1/2 lb any fresh mushrooms (I used shiitake), sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
*1/2 cup brandy (this is optional- I added it to give a warm flavor- you can try any liquor or wine- the alcohol burns off)
1 cup reserved liquid from reconstituting the porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese
1/4 (or more to taste) Parmesan cheese
1 lb asparagus
salt and pepper
First you have to reconstitute the porcini mushrooms. Boil 1 cup of water and pour over the porcini's in a small bowl. Let sit 30 minutes.
Bring the broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Keep on low.
In a large and shallow saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil on medium. Add the sliced fresh mushrooms, cook 3-5 minutes. Squeeze the porcini's of their liquid (keep the reconstituting liquid reserved!) and add to the pan with the other mushrooms, cook 1 minute. Add the garlic, cook one minute, and remove from pan. Set aside.
Add the reserved porcini liquid to the pan with the broth.
Raise the heat to medium-high. To the pan, add one tbsp of the butter and the chopped shallots. Cook about 5 minutes till they are translucent. Add the rice. You want each grain to be coated and glossy from the butter before adding your liquids.
Add your brandy. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get the bits leftover from the mushrooms off the bottom of the pan. The heat will burn the alcohol off and the rice will absorb the flavor left from the brandy. When the brandy has been absorbed, add one ladle full of the warm broth to the pan. Stir the rice constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this step for 20-22 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed or the rice taste creamy and a little Al dente. (I had about a ladle in a half leftover, but it really depends on how the rice is absorbing the liquid). If you run out of broth but the rice isn't as creamy or soft as you like, you can use warm water.
Turn the heat off. Stir in the last tablespoon of butter, the Mascarpone, Parmesan, and the mushrooms back to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cut or break off the tough ends of the asparagus. Drizzle the teaspoon or so of grapeseed oil on the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan on medium high and grill the asparagus about 5 minutes, turning once halfway through. Alternatively, roast the asparagus on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven.
Plate the risotto, topped with asparagus and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.