Mmm, Umami! Mushroom & Rosemary Risotto

Ahoy Foodies!


Sorry I’ve been MIA, Mr. Tofu and I have been traipsing about Norway and Denmark, eating fish and taking pictures for the last few weeks. Several posts are to follow on that.  In the meantime, I needed good ol’ comfort food. The kind of comfort that only a casserole could provide.

So I picked up author Faith Durand‘s new book, Not Your Mother’s Casseroles for inspiration, and yowza, did I ever find it! I’ve marked 30 pages of recipes to try right away–from Lemon Brioche French Toast to Asian Cabbage Rolls. True to its name, this book has nothing to do with the tater tot-topped casseroles we grew up with.



The first recipe to really catch my eye and send me marching to the kitchen was Faith’s recipe for oven-baked Mushroom and Rosemary Risotto. Faith starts the recipe with dried porcini and shiitake mushrooms, so you know it’s going to be full of savory umami-ness. 

When it comes to dried shiitake mushrooms, I don’t mess around. I buy my shiitakes from Serenity Art, a wonderful tea shop in the Fubon shopping center where Mr. Tofu buys his ultra premium green tea.
In a huge glass apothecary jar right next to the gnarled roots of ginseng and shaved chips of cloud ear fungus, you will find dried shiitake mushrooms that have dark, meaty caps with deep white fissures in the top. The nice lady lifts the heavy glass lid, you get one whiff and you’re in mushroom heaven! The tiny dried mushrooms sold in tiny cellophane packs in grocery stores simply cannot hold a candle to these babies.

The combo of really good dried mushrooms, fresh rosemary, and a few spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese make this one of the best and easiest ways to make risotto I’ve ever attempted. We had it with slow baked salmon since we still haven’t had our fill of fish, even after the fish 3-meals a day diet we were on in Scandinavia. More about that soon. Until then, enjoy Faith’s hard work, and read more of her stuff at The Kitchn.com.

Baked Mushroom and Rosemary Risotto
from Not Your Mother’s Casseroles, by Faith Durand

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (about 5 caps)
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
One 4-inch sprig fresh rosemary
1 cup Arborio or other short grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
Parmesan cheese curls, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Rinse the dried mushrooms lightly. Place the mushrooms in a ceramic bowl and pour the boiling water over them.

2. Heat the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until soft and golden.

3. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Chop the mushroom caps, discarding shiitake stems. Add the mushrooms, garlic and rosemary sprig to the pan and saute on low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms have sweated out some moisture and the garlic is fragrant and golden.

4. Add the rice and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 4 minutes, or until the rice begins to turn transparent around the edges.

5. Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, broth, and reserved mushroom steeping liquid. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and put it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

6. Remove and stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and mascarpone cheese. Return the casserole to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir vigorously. Serve garnished with Parmesan curls.

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