Monday, February 26, 2007

Risotto Con i Funghi

Risotto with Mushrooms

Following on the heels of successfully getting my previously-mushroom shy hubby to eat the little critters, I quickly prepared another dish he enjoyed. This is amazing! He's never consumed mushrooms before; now he's actually enjoying them! They are in season and we are finding them on every menu and in every little vegetable market...big, plump and freshly harvested. Porcini are around but more difficult to find. Mostly we're seeing the champignon variety.

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
mushrooms to taste , chopped (I used 2 but they were quite large and meaty)
1 C. arborio rice
white wine (about 1/3 cup)
beef or vegetable broth (about 2 1/2 cups)
salt and pepper to taste
pecorino or parmigiano cheese

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil. When they're softened, add the mushrooms and salt and pepper, sauteing until they're softening. Add the risotto and stir well, toasting them a few minutes. Splash in the wine, stirring. When it is absorbed, start adding the broth a ladelful at a time, stirring. Continue adding broth until the rice is cooked al dente and the broth is absorbed. Grate in some cheese, stir until melted and creamy. Top with additional cheese.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Hearty Casserole

Being rainy and dreary, and generally winter-feeling, we wanted something a bit hearty and warming for dinner, something that heat the oven and the house, as well as fill us up. A casserole always fit the bill for that description! This one is made with potatoes, a bit of ground beef, and mushrooms. This serves 2 people, but is very easy to double.

You'll need: potatoes, ground beef, mushrooms, a couple carrots, an onion, a clove of garlic, some beef broth, a little cream, sour cream or yogurt.

Peel and thinly slice 2-3 potatoes, as well as 1 or 2 carrots.

In a casserole pan, layer 1/3 of the potatoes, and half the carrots. Reserve the rest.
In a skillet, brown about 1/4 to 1/3 pound of ground beef, (or more if you desire it meatier and heartier). Add half the meat to the casserole pan. Add another layer of potatoes and carrots, the remaining beef, and then finish with the rest of the potatoes.

To the skillet, add a bit of olive oil and saute a small onion, chopped and a clove or two of garlic, minced. When they are softened, add the mushrooms (sliced or chopped) and cook until they are soft and reduced. Sprinkle on about a teaspoon of flour and a dash of ground pepper, continuing to saute to get rid of the raw flour taste. Using about 1/2 cup of beef broth...Add a little of the broth slowly, stirring, until it begins to thicken, then continue adding broth until you have a sauce. Swirl in a tablespoon or two of the cream, sour cream or yogurt, stir well to incorporate and remove from heat. Pour all of it over the casserole, cover and bake for about 25 minutes.

Bryan loved this and he usually avoids eating mushrooms!