Risotto is a nice dish to make as the weather begins to cool down. I like to make mushroom risottos, and I vary the recipe a little each time with additions of other vegetables or herbs. This time I had leeks and corn from the farmer’s market, and they made very nice additions to the risotto. We especially liked the sweet corn with its slight crunch. I roasted the mushrooms with some onion and thyme ahead of time and added them to the risotto at the end. The mushrooms retained their distinct texture and flavor separately from the rest of the risotto this way.
To make this or any other risotto, use Arborio Rice. It is starchier than regular rice and is specifically for making risotto dishes. It comes in vacuum-sealed packages; I freeze the package after opening to keep the flavor of the rice fresh. Risotto can be made quickly with a pressure cooker, and that is how I often cook it, but this time I made it the old-fashioned way, by ladeling hot broth into the rice and stirring until the liquid almost evaporates, then adding more broth. It is not a lot of work, but you do have to stay by the stove during the 20 minutes or so of cooking time.
Risotto with Roasted Mushrooms and Corn
1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms or other mushrooms
1 medium onion, halved crosswise, and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
2 Tablespoons salted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon salted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
¼ cup dry sherry
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
corn kernels cut from 1 fresh ear of corn
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375°. Toss mushrooms, sliced onion, thyme leaves, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil together on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the mushrooms are roasted and their liquid absorbed. Remove from the oven and let stand while you prepare the other ingredients. Coarsely chop the roasted mushrooms and onions. (Mushrooms can be roasted 2 hours ahead and held at room temperature).
Combine the vegetable broth and water in a saucepan and heat to a simmer. The hot broth will be added gradually to the risotto while it cooks.
Heat a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil in a large pot. When the butter is hot, add the leeks and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil, and a minute later, add the Arborio rice. Stir the rice in the oil for a minute. Add the sherry and stir until the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Then add a ladleful (or about 3/4 cup) of broth. Simmer until the broth is absorbed, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add more broth, a ladleful at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more, stirring often, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes longer. Stir in the mushroom mixture and corn, then stir in the parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
Serves 4 as a main course, 6-8 as a side dish.