Shiitake and Sweet Pea Risotto

Why is it that mushrooms are one of those kinds of foods that kids don’t want anything to do with?  Will your kids go near mushrooms?  Will they make every effort to locate all types of fungi within a dish and shove it to the side where it will never, ever be eaten?  That’s my kid anyways.  As much as I adore mushrooms, he despises them equally so.  This is one of those dishes in my house that was for Mom-and-Dad only:  Shiitake and Sweet Pea Risotto.  I knew my little guy would never attempt to eat this one, so I figured… why force the kid, right?

A version of this recipe was published in Cooking Light a couple of years ago, so you can kind of feel good about eating it :)

Risotto isn’t tough to make, but it does have to be tended to.  Have someone hang out with you in the kitchen while you make it, catch up on the latest reality TV, or just play some relaxing music and enjoy the quiet.  If you’re a wine drinker, pop open a bottle of dry white since you’ll need it in the recipe.  And pour a glass for yourself too!  Here’s how you make it:  melt butter and add onion.

Stir in garlic.

Add the Arborio rice.

Stir it around a little bit.

Add white wine and let the rice absorb the wine.  If you’re not a wine drinker, just use chicken or vegetable broth here instead.

Meanwhile, saute your mushrooms in another pan…

…until they are softened.  Then just let them hang out off the heat while you finish the rest of the dish.

Here’s the part where you have to be patient.  You’re going to add 1/2 cup of warm broth, then stir and stir until the rice absorbs it.  Then you’ll add another 1/2 cup and stir, stir, stir.  Keep going with the 1/2 cup routine until the rice has absorbed all of the broth and is very tender.

It should look kind of like this.

Then stir in the mushrooms, thyme, peas, pepper and a little bit of Parmesan.

Divide it between four bowls and serve topped with a little more Parm. Risotto isn’t something that you want to eat a humongous bowl of… it’s actually quite filling and satisfying.  I like to serve it with a large green salad.  And wine, of course.  This recipe happens to be weight watcher’s friendly (see nutritional info and points in the recipe below), and it’s naturally gluten-free too.

We the parents in my house loved our Shiitake and Sweet Pea Risotto, mushrooms and all.  Hopefully someday the kid will realize just how much he’s missing out by not chowing down on mushrooms!

P.S. I once tricked my boy into eating a burger that was made entirely of ground-up Portobello Mushrooms.  He actually ate it but kept asking me what was weird about it.  And he wasn’t too happy when he heard there were mushrooms involved.  I don’t think he’s quite forgiven me for that one yet ;)

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Shiitake and Sweet Pea Risotto

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 40 min

Cook Time: 35 min

Risotto is a delicious and filling dish. I like to serve it with a large green salad.

Ingredients:

4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc work well)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (use regular mushrooms if you'd like)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup frozen green peas
6 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the broth over low heat- keep warm at a simmer.

2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion- cook 2 minutes. Add the garlic- cook 30 seconds (keep stirring). Add the rice- cook 1 minute (keep stirring). Add the wine- cook 2 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed (keep stirring). Stir in 1/2 cup of the broth- cook 2 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed (keep stirring!) Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until each portion of the broth is absorbed before you add the next 1/2 cup. This should take about 20 minutes total.

3. Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan; cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.

4. Add the mushrooms, thyme, peas, 1/4 cup of the cheese, and pepper to the risotto. Stir and cook for 3 minutes- just until everything is warmed. Spoon about 1 1/4 cups risotto into each of 4 bowls. Sprinkle each with the remaining cheese.

Tips:

*To make this recipe dairy-free, use olive oil in place of butter, and leave out the Parmesan cheese.
*To make this recipe gluten-free, just be sure to use a brand of broth that is known to be GF.
*To make this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: Recipe divided into 4 servings
Calories per serving: 324
Fat per serving: 10g
Saturated Fat per serving: 3.7g
Fiber per serving: 4.5g
Protein per serving: 11.7g
Cholesterol per serving: 14mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 48g

WW POINTS per serving:
Points Plus Program: 9 Old Points Program: 7

Source:  RecipeGirl.com (adapted from Cooking Light)

Here are a few more delicious risotto recipes for you to try: 
Risotto Primavera by The Pioneer Woman
Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Blue Cheese Risotto by RecipeGirl
Lemon and Thyme Risotto by Leite’s Culinaria 
Baked Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions by The Kitchn 
White Wine Risotto with Roasted Vegetables by Food for My Family 
Roasted Beet Risotto by Love and Olive Oil