Saffron Risotto with Mushroom and Asparagus deliciousness

plate of saffron risotto with mushrooms and asparagus

This is the first post at 100kitchen (100k), and I would like to welcome all of you with my tried and true dish, one that I can cook in my sleep (figuratively, because no one can cook in their sleep, unless they are sleep cookers which in hindsight sounds awesome…ly dangerous).

First things first, Mise en place, this is one thing that was drilled into my head in culinary school and it basically means “a place for everything and everything in its place” and all that. This has become one of my main concepts in life, preparation is an essential skill for everybody and if it gets boiled down to its key concepts it just means organization, vision, and readiness.

To be prepared means you have to get organized, no one made that epic culinary dish of deliciousness by being messy and “cutting” corners (get it?). Vision is also required because you must be able to see your dish before you make it, how it can taste, how it will be plated, and what steps to reach that end goal. And readiness, your skills and knives are sharp, you know what and how to cut each ingredient and just the right amount of it to add to each dish (this of course takes practice). Now enough of my blathering! On to the recipe!!!!

Ingredients

PART A: Fresh Produce

 

PART B: Risotto

 

PART C: Cheeses PART D: Spices/Seasoning
1 large Onion or 2 medium onions

1 package of cremini mushrooms

1 bunch of Asparagus

6 cloves of Garlic

50g of butter

750g of Superfino Arborio Rice

1800ml of low-sodium

chicken stock

200ml of Miso soup

250ml of White wine of choice

 

100g of Parmigiano Reggiano

100g of Gruyère

1 pinch of Saffron

Salt to taste

Black Pepper to taste

1 tsp of Italian flat or curly leaf parsley

 

Put all ingredients from Part A and place it on your work station.

Finely dice the onion(s) and store in a container (pro-tip to avoid tears, sharpen your knife!!!!)

Wash the mushrooms, pat dry and vertically slice mushrooms into quarter-inches, then gather up all the slices and horizontally slice the slices by a quarter-inch to get the dice (say that 5 times fast). Store in a separate container from the onions

Wash the asparagus, pat dry and cut the end of the stalks off (about 1 inch) as this is the toughest part of the asparagus (the rest of the stalk is tender)

Line them up by however many you feel comfortable in chopping and chop into quarter-inch cuts until you reach about 1 to 1.5 inches, again put aside in a separate container.

Lastly, garlic is meant to be tasted but not felt (kinda like how as a kid I was supposed to be seen but not heard, but I was heard anyway, so essentially the opposite of this metaphor). Now pop those suckers out of their skins and mince them with your microplane! (Do not have a microplane? Grab a cheese grater and use the smallest holes you can find). Now set it aside in a separate dish. You can use more or less garlic cloves as you like, but for me, I am a card carrying member of more garlic association (not real) and 6 is just barely enough for me.

Okay, now take your Parmigiano Reggiano (or grana padano if you want something less expensive) and grate it all with the smallest holes on the cheese grater. The gruyere will also be grated but with the medium sized holes. The parmigiana reggiano gives an amazing flavour when combined with miso as they hit the fifth taste called Umami and it just plays off of each other so well. And the gruyere is such a beautiful melting cheese that gives that extra creaminess and a zing to your risotto (who does not like extra creaminess and zing?). Set this aside

The last thing to prep is the ingredients in Part B bring the low-sodium chicken stock to a rolling boil and turn it down to a simmer. And you will ask “But Dennis! Why low-sodium chicken stock?” and I will tell you why! You are the controlling force of this dish, and you regulate all aspects of it and that includes how salty you want this dish! Same goes for the butter, always get unsalted to maximize control over the salt content of your dishes (trust me these are words to live by).

Bring the miso to a rolling boil and bring down to a simmer, you can add the saffron when you start cooking the risotto or now (personally I go for the latter because I like the extra flavour and colour it imparts on the stock).

Now is the part you have all been waiting for!

Throw in a quarter of your butter into a large skillet; let it melt on a medium-high heat, once melted throw in those onions and sweat until translucent. Throw in all that beautifully pungent garlic and sauté until golden-brown (this is called the maillard reaction). The onions give the risotto a beautifully savoury-sweet flavour and the garlic imparts a delicious aroma (that I personally cannot get enough of). Remove this from your skillet and melt another quarter of the butter in the skillet. Once melted add in those mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, remove and place it with the onions, repeat this process for the asparagus and you will be ready to go for 14 minutes of wishing you had a third arm.

Alright, now in case you have not removed the asparagus, do so now! Melt the rest of your butter and put in all 750g of superfine Arborio rice into your skillet, let it toast (I let it go for a minute or two before I start adding some stock). The trick to a delicious risotto is to slowly add the stock in at the beginning and letting it absorb, if you have a 200ml ladle begin with 2 ladles at a time, stir, let absorb, and repeat. Until about half the stock is absorbed into the rice, you can start adding larger amounts of the stock. Once all the stock is absorbed in the rice, add in your white wine of choice and miso along with the pinch of saffron. (My advice on cooking with wine is, if you do not like to drink it, you will not like to eat it. So please choose a cheap wine that you enjoy drinking with any dishes that require it.) Make sure to keep stirring the entire time you are adding stock (hence why you wish you had a third arm). Now fold all the sautéed ingredients into your rice, sprinkle with the parsley for some more colour and you are ready to serve some delicious Risotto that will make your head spin!

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