Wild Rice Risotto with Asparagus and Wild Mushrooms
Since the program was taped, the talented husband-and-wife team Rick Tramonto and pastry chef Gale Gand have opened Brasserie T in a Chicago suburb and the elegant fine-dining True restaurant in the heart of Chicago. In this sumptuous appetizer, Tramonto puts a new spin on Italian risotto by combining traditional arborio and wild rice. Wild rice is not true rice but the seed of a long-grain marsh grass native to the Great Lakes region. Once wild, it is now cultivated. Arborio rice, however, is real rice, grown in Italy, but with a distinctive short, plump grain and high-starch content that gives risotto its creamy texture. As a professional chef, Tramonto prepares each individual serving of risotto to order by partially precooking both rices. The technique given here is simplified, and allows the home cook to prepare eight portions at one time, by adding cooked wild rice at the end. The wild rice retains its texture even when cooked, and the arborio is prepared using the traditional risotto method of adding hot stock in stages. It's a good idea to start this recipe by bringing 2-1/2 quarts of chicken stock (more than you will need) to a boil, then reducing it to a simmer.
- Chicken Stock - 2-1/2 quarts, simmering, divided
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 4 tablespoons, divided
- Onion - 1 cup, minced, divided
- Garlic Cloves - 2, minced
- Wild Rice - 1/2 cup
- Thyme - 1 sprig, chopped, leaves only
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Arborio Rice - 2 cups
- White Wine - 1/2 cup
- Porcini Stock (recipe follows) - 1/2 cup
- Butter - 6 tablespoons, divided
- Mushrooms - 1/2 pound, assorted (chanterelle, shiitake, cremini) sliced, about 2 cups
- Asparagus spears - 16, trimmed to 3 inches, blanched (see Cooking Basics)
- Parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup grated
- Romano cheese - 1/2 cup grated
- Whipped Cream - 1 cup
- Soft Herbs - 1/2 cup, chopped (chervil, chives, cilantro, flat-leaf parsley)
- Tomatoes - 1 cup, peeled, seeded, diced (See Cooking Basics)
- Shaved Parmesan cheese - as needed
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - or prepared basil-flavored olive oil as needed
In a heavy gauge non reactive 2-1/2 quart saucepan, saute 1/4 cup of the onion and half the garlic in 2tablespoons of olive oil. When the vegetables are translucent but not brown. Add the wild rice and the thyme and, over medium-high heat, stir until the rice is coated with the oil. Add 2 cups of the hot chicken stock, stirring frequently, and bring the rice to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan and cook until the rice is cooked and the stock absorbed, about 45 minutes. Check during the last 20 minutes of cooking to make sure the rice is not boiling dry and add more stock, 1/4 cup at a time, as needed. When the rice has cooked, season lightly to taste with salt and pepper. Turn the rice out on a large plate to cool.
In a large saucepan, saute the remaining 3/4 cup of onion and remaining garlic in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the vegetables are translucent but not brown, add the arborio rice and stir to coat with oil. Cook the rice, stirring, for about 4 minutes.Over medium-high heat, add 1 cup of the simmering chicken stock, stirring constantly. when the rice has absorbed the stock, continue adding stock by 1 cup measures, waiting until it has been absorbed before adding the next cup, until 6 cups in all, have been absorbed. Then add the wine, stirring until absorbed, and the porcini broth, stirring until absorbed. The rice should be creamy but al dente in the center.
While the wine and broth are being absorbed, in a saute pan over high heat, saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the butter. When wine and porcini broth have been absorbed , lower the heat, and add mushrooms and any juices to cooked risotto, add the cooked wild rice, stirring to mix. Then fold in the 4 remaining tablespoons of butter. Halve the asparagus spears and gently fold into risotto. Fold in the cheese, and the whipped cream. .Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the chopped soft herbs, and chopped tomatoes.
To serve: Divide risotto evenly between 8 shallow soup bowls. Drizzle a tablespoon of virgin olive oil or basil-flavored olive oil over each. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Yield: Approximately 3 cups