All posts filed under: Grains, Breads & Legumes

Shiitake Mushroom Risotto with Thyme, Saffron, and Parmesan

Risotto is one of the ultimate comfort foods.  When made right, it’s creamy and belly-warming.  I tend to like my risotto packed with a lot of vegetables–mushrooms being the classic companion.  Here is my take using shiitakes only, but 2 ways: fresh and dried. I soak the dried shiitakes in HOT water for about 45-60 minutes before adding. Start by sauteeing a chopped medium size onion in butter and olive oil until transcluscent.  Add in the sliced mushrooms until cooked down by about half.  Make sure you add salt & white pepper as you cook the risotto–you want those flavors to penetrate the mix as you go.  Once cooked down, add the rice.  Stir well. Once the rice and ‘shrooms saute for a few minutes, add the thyme and saffron threads.  Start adding the chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring constantly.  After the first 1/2 cup of chicken stock, add the strained mushroom liquid and wine.  Keep adding chicken stock until the rice is tender and the consistency is creamy.   Add 1/2 cup grated …

Fava Bean Crostini with Mint and Pecorino

When fava beans start arriving in farmers markets and gourmet grocery stores, you know that Spring is in full bloom.  They’re bright green and look like giant green beans. When you tear them open, these neat lima-bean-looking beans emerge, with little yellow bits holding them onto their pods. The fava bean is encased in a shell that is easily peeled away after about 3-5 minutes in boiling, salted water, and then plunged into a quick ice bath.  The ice bath shrinks the gorgeous bean inside, making the shell separate away.  A quick slit of your knife is all it takes.  The best way to enjoy fresh fava beans is simply… and in this case taking a cue from Martha, I like to prepare them with some mint from the garden and freshly shaved pecorino cheese.  A little salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil, and this beautiful puree emerges. I serve the fava bean puree on freshly toasted crostini.  The result is so fresh and cheerful. It will make you want to hold onto Spring as …