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Papa's Pepper Spicy Mushroom Risotto


Papa's Pepper Spicy Mushroom Risotto

 (Courtesy of Spencer from @spencerthecook from Instagram ... )

Many people get intimidated at the mere mention of cooking risotto, but don't let it intimidate you!  This wonderfully satisfying, creamy, hearty and spicy rice dish is not that difficult to make, it just takes time and attention.  The heat from Papa's Pepper premium spice blend is a wonderful addition to risotto because it adds more depth of flavor while helping to break up some of the savoriness of this classic dish.  Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Ingredients:

2C Arborio rice
8C Vegetable broth (you might not use it all)
2 Bay leaves
3T Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/2C White wine
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Large white onion, minced
24oz. Baby Bella mushrooms (Quarter or halve the large ones and leave the small ones whole)
2T Butter
3T Worcestershire sauce
1t Kosher salt
1T Papa's Pepper premium spice blend
1/2C Pecorino romano cheese (or parmesan)

1. Pour vegetable stock in stock pot over medium heat, add bay leaves, bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes while you prep the mushrooms and rice.

2 Add butter and Worcestershire sauce to large skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and stir once butter has melted.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and let the mushrooms cook until they release their water, string occasionally.  Turn off heat to pan when the water is almost all evaporated.

3. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan with high sides over medium heat.  Add onion to olive oil and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and saute with onion until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.  Add rice to the pan, stirring it in with onions and garlic, and sauté until you hear it start to "pop" and sightly change color, stirring for 4-5 minutes.  Add the white wine and stir until the wine is evaporated/incorporated.

4. Remove bay leaves from stock.  Add 1-2 ladles of stock to the rice and stir constantly.  The stock should bubble slightly when you add it to the rice.  Stir the rice until the stock is absorbed and then add another ladle or two of stock and stir until absorbed.  Repeat this process while stirring until rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 25-30 minutes.  Add one last ladle of stock, Papa's Pepper, mushrooms and pecorino romano cheese.  Stir to incorporate.  I like my risotto creamy, but tight.  If you prefer a more soup like consistency you can add a little more stock.

Optional: You can add peas during the last five minutes of cooking for a some color and sweetness.

**Cook's note:
Constantly stirring the rice helps to break down those glorious starches that give this dish it's luxurious creamy consistency so while it is a labor of love, keep stirring! :-)