Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mushroom Risotto with Gorgonzola and Fried Sage

Jesus... what a day. I was busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest. I taught from 8:00am until 12:45pm (which means I left the house at 6:45 am) and as many of you know I am not, I repeat NOT a morning person, so I was not looking forward to lecturing on atomic theory and the first and second laws of thermodynamics this morning. Then after class I had a bunch of unpleasant chores to do and I had to meet up with my daughter Emma to get an oil change on her car (which was not unpleasant at all).
Anyway, after the tedium of my afternoon was over, Emma and I went to the Teeter to search for inspiration for dinner. We found a delicious three cheese semolina bread in he bakery and were reminded that we saw Giada DeLaurentis make a mushroom and gorgonzola risotto on the Cooking Channel. Now let me set the record straight... I think Giada has some great recipes, but I just don't understand how she can be so, so... thin. I like her culinary ideas, but how good can her food be if she (allegedly) trots to the ladies room to toss it up 15 minutes later. I mean really.
ANYWAY... we decide to make our own Mushroom and Gorgonzola Risotto for dinner, Giada be damned! The following recipe is the result!

If you are looking for something light and ethereal, this is not your dish. However, if you are looking for something woodsy, autumnal and luxurious, then read on.
(I must admit, that this recipe was Emma's first hand at executing a risotto. It was stellar. Congrats to Emma on baby's first risotto!)

MushroomRisotto with Gorgonzola and Fried Sage
(serves 6)

4 cups (32 oz.) chicken or vegetable stock
16 oz. mushrooms
4 Tbsp olive oil
6 large fresh sage leaves
1 cup arborio rice
I Tbsp fresh rosemary coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup port
1/4 cup red wine
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 oz. (1/2 cup) crumbled gorgonzola cheese
4 oz. (1/2 cup) grated parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
fresh ground black pepper

Put the stock in a medium-sized pot and bring to a simmer. Keep hot stock on a low simmer on the back burner. Meanwhile, finely mince 1/2 of the mushrooms in a food processor. Transfer minced mushrooms to a double thickness of paper towels, and squeeze to ring out as much moisture as possible. Thickly slice the remaining mushrooms.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large (preferably non-stick) skillet over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add the sage leaves and fry 2 minutes per side ( this crisps the delicious leaves and infuses the oil with sage). Once crisp, remove leaves and drain on a paper towel. Add sliced mushrooms to the hot sage oil, making sure not to crowd the mushrooms and to keep them in a single layer. After 2minutes flip the mushrooms, they should be turning a golden color. After 2 minutes, add the minced mushrooms and stir and spread in as thin a layer as possible, covering the bottom of the pan. Allow the mushrooms to caramelize, stirring occasionally until almost no steam rises from the pan and the mushrooms have begun to sweat the olive oil they have absorbed (about 10-15 minutes on medium high heat). Remove mushrooms from pan and reserve.
Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the hot pan and add the arborio rice, stirring to coat the rice with oil. Allow the rice to "toast" in the hot oil, stirring frequently, until the rice appears an opaque white color (about 3-5 minutes). Add the port, wine, garlic and rosemary to the rices and stir constantly until liquid has almost completely been absorbed. Add the thyme, and reserved mushrooms, stir.
Now add the heated stock one ladle at a time (about 1/4 cup at a time), stirring constantly until rice appears almost dry before adding more stock. Continue until all the stock has been added. This should take about 20-30 minutes of constant stirring and vigilance (stay with me , the end product is worth it).
After the last of the heated stock has been added, and stirred until absorbed, remove pan from heat and add gorgonzola cheese and parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is mixed and melted. Add 3 Tbsp butter and stir until butter is melted and risotto is glossy. Garnish with reserved fried sage leaves, and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Additons: This would be amazing if topped with either (or both) toasted chopped walnuts and/or crumbled fried prosciutto!

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