Sunday, June 28, 2009

brown rice and mushroom risotto

This recipe was inspired by a delicious brown rice risotto that I recently tried at one of my new favorite restaurants. The place is called Hugo's, and it is a hypoglycemic's paradise. Finally, a place where I can eat out and choose from quinoa, whole grain rolls, brown rice, and wheat ciabatta!! If you live in LA, you should definitely check it out - Hugo's is also great for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free people. They are also very eco-friendly and try to be a "green" restaurant as much as possible. And yet, it's not the kind of place where you feel like "healthy" is being rammed down your throat. You can get carne asada and goat cheese mashed potatoes there. Hugo's seems to be kind of an entertainment industry hangout as well, because every time we go there, we seem to overhear people at neighboring tables talking about casting calls and thier IMDB profiles. (If you don't know what IMDB is, clearly you don't live in LA - it's big here!)

Aaaanyway. Normally, my blood sugar sensitivity won't allow me to eat risotto, so brown rice risotto is a pretty exciting concept. I used short-grain brown rice from the grain bins at Whole Foods, so it's also a cheap meal. It does take at least an hour to make, with all the stirring and adding broth, but it is worth it, and the texture does turn out creamy and dense like a regular risotto. Mushroom broth can be a little bit hard to find, but I picked up Pacific brand broth at Whole Foods. If no one stocks it near you, you can make your own by rehydrating some dried mushrooms and keeping the liquid, as I described here. (Be sure to use enough dried mushrooms to make 2 cups of broth.) I wanted to use chopped up green beans for a perky little crunch, but I didn't have any, so I threw in some sliced zucchini at the last minute. It was good too, but I am eager to try this again with green beans! (Any excuse, really.)

This recipe made enough for Mike and I to have a hearty meal, but next time we'll double it so there are leftovers. I was a little sad not to have much left, especially after taking the time to make this batch.


2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 yellow onion, diced
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups mushroom broth
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 cup chopped crimini (or other brown) mushrooms
1 zucchini chopped (or your choice of vegetable)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot. Saute the onions, and add the garlic after a few minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring the broth and tomato paste to a boil in a separate pot, stirring so that the paste disentegrates into the liquid.

3. When the onions are nearly translucent, add the rice to the pot and stir to coat. Then add 1 cup of the boiling broth mixture. Adding it hot will help the rice to begin to simmer. Keep it going at a very low simmer, partly covering the pot with the lid. Stir every few minutes until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid - this could take 30 minutes. At this point, add half of the remaining broth and repeat the procedure.

4. When the rice has once again soaked up most of the liquid, add the sage and mushrooms to the pot. Then add the rest of the broth mixture, and repeat the stirring/soaking process.

5. For the vegetable, you could steam or saute in a separate pan and add it to the risotto just before serving. This method would give you the most control over its done-ness. Or, for a simpler approach, you could throw the veggies into the rice pot on the last addition of liquid, allowing for the necessary cooking time relative to the veggie you've chosen (a little more for green beans or asparagus, a little less for zucchini).

6. When the rice has absorbed the final portion of broth, stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve. Maybe garnish with a little sage leaf. :)

Mushroom Risotto on Foodista


  1. Ooh sounds amazing! Can't wait to try it :) Thanks so much!

  2. Very nice blog!!! I love to prepare some recipe that contain many mushrooms, i really like the flavor. Mushrooms combine with some ingredients are really delicous. So when i cook i usually add many mushrooms to my recipes and my husband is happy too.
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