Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Ok, I've realized that I cannot go to Trader Joe's without buying at least 2 pounds of cheese. Before I made this risotto, our fridge was stocked with 14 kinds of cheeses, that's right FOURTEEN: mozarella, white cheddar, orange cheddar, Swiss, Gruyère, goat, Comtè, Fontina, Parmesiano-Reggiano, Pecorino, Monterey jack, feta, parmesan, and Harvati. So as much as I love risotto, this recipe was more about clearing up some fridge room than satisfying a craving.

I know that Arborio rice is typically used for risotto, but I wanted to try making it a bit healthier by using brown rice. I wasn't sure how it would work out, or if it would at all, since brown rice is definitely not as starchy as Arborio, and the starchiness of the rice is what gives risotto its creaminess. I used a simple recipe for asparagus and shitake risotto and used brown rice instead of Arborio.

Using the brown rice required much more time since brown rice takes longer to cook, but the end result was totally worth it. This risotto was just as creamy as other risottos I've had with Arborio rice. I used Gruyère and Fontina, which added a ton of flavor.

Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms (adapted from Gourmèt, May 2003)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound thin to medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, leaving tips 1 1/2 inches long
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Brown rice (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere
  • 1/2 cup Fontina
1. Bring broth and water to a boil in a large pot. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. Keep broth at a bare simmer, covered.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy pot over moderately high heat, then sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Cook shallots in 2 tablespoons of oil in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, about 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.
3. Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, for about 1 hour.
4. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in asparagus and mushrooms. Serve immediately.


  1. This, again, looks absolutely yummy. I should really start to make risotto as well. I don't even know what I'm afraid of.
    Also, your cheese collection sounds very impressive, I bet it would make a tasty fondue ;)

  2. I absolutely love risotto. But! I have never thought to use brown rice instead. Brilliant. I will be trying this, as the other ingredients (asparagus and mushrooms) are faves around here. (We also love Trader Joe's, but usually end up with more Pub Cheese than any other kind.)

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  3. That risotto looks really good! I like the use of the brown rice.

  4. ah, cheese <3 and yay for asparagus season :)