I’ve never been much of a risotto-maker because, well, the stirring. A traditional risotto requires its maker to stand at the stove for a half hour or so and stir. Constantly. No pausing (for, let’s say a glass of wine with a dinner guest, a conversation with spouse or an emergency diaper change) allowed. I rarely have the time or patience for such an all-consuming kitchen endeavour.
So the discovery that risotto could be—get this—baked in the oven (nary a stir required) was a bit of a game-changer for me. Risotto turned from a daunting chore to a do-able dinner. A dinner that I could pull off in a hurry on an ordinary Wednesday. Risotto on a Wednesday!
This baked mushroom risotto has a rough and rustic quality, less refined than a risotto you might find in a fancy Italian restaurant, but just as delicious. It gets its flavour primarily from mushrooms (dried and fresh), white miso paste, herbes de provence, and a bit of parmesan cheese stirred in just before serving.
The miso might seem an unusual addition to risotto, and while it certainly isn’t traditional, adds a deep and rich flavour without the need for vegetable or chicken stock. You can buy white miso paste at most Asian grocery stores or health food stores (Whole Foods and places like that), and while this recipe only uses a tablespoon of it, you can store the rest of it in the fridge for quite awhile and use it to add flavour and probiotic goodness to soups, stews, chicken and fish.
If you have a mushroom-phobic kid at your table (as I do), fear not: the mushrooms can be easily plucked out, leaving a creamy bowl of rice that is difficult to resist.
I usually serve this as a weeknight main course, with a side of green salad and some roasted or steamed broccoli, but it’s also a hearty side dish for meat, chicken and fish, and fancy enough to serve to dinner guests.
- 30 grams (~ 1 oz) dried mushrooms (porcini or mixed)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 340 grams (3/4 pound) mixed mushrooms, sliced
- 1 ¼ cups arborio rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Rinse the dried mushrooms in a small strainer, place them in a bowl, and pour the boiling water over top. Set aside.
- Heat the butter or olive oil in a large dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until softened and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan and let them cook for 2 minutes before flipping them over and letting them cook for about 2 minutes on the other side. (The purpose of leaving them for 2 minutes is to develop some colour/crispness.) Stir in the rice, and cook for another minute or two until it begins to turn translucent.
- Add the rehydrated mushrooms and soaking water, water, miso paste and herbes de provence. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover with a tight lid and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Stir in the parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper (if desired) and serve immediately.