On Thursday Dad and I went out to eat in downtown Sellwood. (If there is a downtown area? Tacoma and 13th, let’s try.) Dad tricked me into going to Gino’s, an expensive Italian restaurant I told him I would never eat at the last time he was in town. Possibly you’re wondering how he tricked me into going to a restaurant I said I’d never go to.
To be fair, the corner awning of Gino’s advertises a bar by another name. So of course I didn’t realize where we were until we were sat at a booth with a Gino’s menu placed squarely in front of me.
I was as under-impressed with the restaurant as I imagined I would be when I first saw the menu on-line. Dad said his food was OK; however, I didn’t enjoy anything I ate. To be fair, I’m pretty sure my taste buds were off that night. Not even my martini tasted good! (And who ever heard of a bad tasting martini??)
The last two Italian Sellwood restaurant’s that Dad and I visited, Dad ordered the same thing: mushroom risotto. Neither dishes were terribly impressive. So unimpressive, in fact, I was sure I could make my own mushroom risotto that would taste a lot better.
I was right.
- 1 oz dried mushrooms
- 1 ½ c. hot water
- 6 c. chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 4 T. olive oil
- ½ c. minced onion
- 10 oz fresh mushrooms (Portobello, white, brown, etc.)
- 2 c. uncooked arborio rice
- 1 c. white wine
- 1 c. or more freshly grated parmesan cheese, or to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soak dried mushrooms in 1 1/2 cups hot water for 10 minutes. Strain liquid into a large saucepan; add broth. Heat and keep at a low simmer until needed.
- Slice soaked mushrooms.
- Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add onion; saute over medium low heat for three to four minutes. Raise heat to medium-high. Add fresh mushrooms and saute until tender, about three to five minutes. Add soaked mushrooms and wine; stir over high heat until the moisture evaporates, about five to six minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low; stir in the rice. Add one to two cups of simmering stock. Stir constantly until most is absorbed. Continue to add stock 1/2 cup to one cup at a time and stir until mostly absorbed.
- Risotto is done when the rice is barely tender (al dente) and mixture is creamy and thick; about 30 minutes. Turn the heat down if rice is absorbing liquid too quickly. When all the stock has been incorporated, stir in the cheese and salt and pepper. Garnish with additional cheese when serving.
I’m constantly tasting while I’m cooking which is why by the time the food is ready I’m usually no longer hungry. I didn’t think this dish was going to be all that impressive upon first taste. However, after adding the parmesan cheese, a little salt and pepper, and letting the dish sit for a few minutes while I took a bunch of pictures; I have to say, I was extremely impressed with my efforts at making my first risotto recipe and with the dish itself.
The recipe is extremely easy if not a bit lengthy (adding the stock to the dish takes the full 30 minutes). The wait was well worth it. Dad and I agree we are ready to embark on any risotto recipe we can get our hands on. Alfredo, pesto, pesto-alfredo, etc. Risotto may be my new recipe obsession.