A Tale of Two Shrooms: Leek and Shiitake Mushroom Risotto & the Aftermath

Summary statement for this post: Make more than you need, it’s better on Day 2. I love making risotto, though it is strictly a weekend activity because it does take more than 30 minutes to prepare. But on a cool fall or winter night, it cannot be beat. I was excited to see leeks again in my last CSA pick-up, as well as 2 large shiitake mushrooms. I decided to prepare a Leek & Shiitake Mushroom Risotto dish – a twish on the traditional Mushroom Risotto. I would use leeks instead of a sauteed onion, and shiitake mushrooms in place of poricini (traditional ingredient in Italy). Sadly, mushrooms are on Hubs’s verboten food list, but I insisted on using just 1 in this recipe as mushrooms add tremendous depth and flavor AND authenticity.

Best Leftovers: Risotto Al Salto

I also used my homemade Vegetable Stock, and a rind of parmiggiano. The  Risotto was yummy on Saturday night, very earthy and even had a brownish hue. Perhaps a little too shroom-y for Hubs’s taste, which is why we had a nice helping leftover. That’s the aftermath. I usually don’t have risotto leftovers, but was actually happy to have them on Sunday because I could make Risotto Al Salto. This is a classic Northern Italian dish using leftover rice, where you basically make a crispy pancake from your risotto. This photo does not do the dish justice. Hubs declared it much improved on Day 2. Um, what’s not to like?

Day 1: Mushroom & Leek Risotto 

1 cup arborio or cannaroli rice
3 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
3 cups vegetable stock, warmed
1 – 2 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup shredded parmiggiano
1 parmiggiano rind (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Saturday Night Risotto

In a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter and saute the leeks. Saute for ~10 minutes until softened, but not yet browned. Add the mushrooms. Saute for an additional 3-4 minutes until mushrooms are softened. Add rice. Stir and let toast for 1 – 2 minutes. Add 1 ladle (about ~1/2 cup) of broth at this time. Add a dash of kosher salt. Stir and let the risotto rest. It should bubble slowly. You want to let the rice absorb the stock, and there is no need to stir it constantly. Check in 2-4 minutes if the liquid has absorbed, and if so, add another ladle of stock. Repeat until risotto has reached desired consistency. It usually takes about 20 minutes or so of “bathing,” and you may have to adjust the stove setting. You can taste for doneness by biting into one grain of rice. It should still have some bite, but be cooked all the way through.

When risotto is cooked, stir in cheese gently. You can add an additional tablespoon of butter (optional), and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with a handful of shredded parmiggiano and enjoy.

Day 2: Mushroom & Leek Risotto Al Salto, or Risotto Pancake

Leftover risotto
1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of shredded parmiggiano

Drizzle oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Spoon risotto into pan and spread out, like a pancake. Allow risotto to crisp, cooking for about 5 minutes. Flip using a spatula and crisp on other side. Slide onto plate and sprinkle with parmiggiano. Cut into quarters and serve. Enjoy!

And, for more details on making Risotto Al Salto, you can check out Giada de Laurentiis’s recipe.

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