Sooo Creamy, Cremini Mushroom Risotto

One of my tricks to eating homemade food on busy week nights it to make GIANT (giant for one person) batches of food and freeze it (a trick my parents have always used. Thanks, Mom!!). That way there's always something (good) in the house to eat. You never know when you might get snowed in. Other good recipes to make large batches of, are soups and marinara sauces. They freeze and re-heat easily.

My batch this week was a risotto. I love risottos because they're so creamy and you can basically add whatever you have in your fridge to make it. There's an urban legend that they take forever to make. False. Here's my easy recipe.

Note: Add whatever vegetables you want. Whatever looks fresh at the market. Just make sure all the vegetables are all about the same-ish size when you cut them up.

Cauliflower, Asparagus and Cremini Mushroom Risotto
Makes 4-5 servings

1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups organic/natural chicken stock
2 sprigs Rosemary
4 sprigs Thyme
2 shallots (finely chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 pack cremini mushrooms (washed and quartered)
1 large handful asparagus (quartered)
3/4 head cauliflower
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese (roughly grated)
1 tsp Crushed red pepper
4 Tbsp butter (1/2 stick)
Olive Oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
I may have taken this picture to brag about my new favorite toy/knife
Start by chopping up all vegetables into bite size pieces and set aside, they should all be similar in size. Cut up shallots and garlic. Heat butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Paula Dean is right, y'all. The more butter, the better, so add as much as your thighs can handle (or just go on a run after you eat this).  Add 1 shallot, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper to pan and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
While shallots and garlic are cooking, add stock, rosemary and thyme to a separate medium sauce pan and bring to a light boil. This infuses the stock with the herb oils (so add whatever herbs you like or have) and helps cook the rice.

Add mushrooms to saute pan with shallots and garlic. Saute for 5-6 minutes to let brown a little. Add the asparagus and cauliflower next and add salt (it's important to flavor every layer). Vegetables will take about 15 minutes to cook. Make sure there is enough oil and butter in the pan for all veggies to get a coating.

In another medium sauce pan, heat up some more oil over medium-high heat and add remaining shallots (you should have 1/2 left) and salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add arborio rice to shallots, mix to coat all rice in oil and shallots. Let cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Grate up Gruyere while rice cooks in oil.

Start to add the stock (which should be boiling in separate pot) to the rice 1 cup at a time. Add a cup and stir almost continuously. Add another cup once stock is almost all absorbed. Repeat until all stock is incorporated into the rice. Discard the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Rice should be creamy and thick. Take a bite and make sure rice is cooked through. Add some water if not and stir until absorbed. Continue until ready. Take off heat and fold in vegetables a spoonful at a time. Add cheese at the end and mix! Et voila!

I made this recipe in Australia when I was visiting my pretty friend, Kendra. I believe that she will vouch that it's easy as pie... :)

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