09 July 2013

Recipe review: Mushroom "risoniotto"

If you haven't yet explored River Cottage Veg by the terribly clever Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, you really should.  Junkies of all things Gordon Ramsay will recognize him as the agricultural consultant on The F Word (by far Ramsay's best show, in my opinion)--he was the guy bringing over lambs, hogs, and other temporary family pets destined to be slaughtered and served in the kitchen at the end of each season.  Never mind the therapy those Ramsay kids will need in their adult lives, Fearnley-Whittingstall is admirably insistent on sustainability and staying as close to the farm with our food as possible.  River Cottage Veg is the latest in his series of cookbooks detailing what he serves on his urban-ish farm, River Cottage.  The entire book is vegetarian, and it uses practical, common ingredients in some creative (but not crazy) combinations.  A great example is his comforting risotto-like dish made from mushrooms and orzo pasta.  I made a several alterations here, which I think would be Hugh's style as well.  This is an easy, tasty dish to serve on the side of something more substantial or as a main course with salad, and it's open to substitutions as your pantry and refrigerator demand.

Mushroom "risoniotto"

adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound mixed mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
8 oz. whole wheat orzo
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons plain yogurt (the original calls for heavy cream, which would be less tangy)
salt and black pepper
generous handful fresh parsley, chopped

Bring a medium saucepan of well-salted water to boil and cook orzo according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and some salt and cook until their liquid has released and evaporated and there is a little browning in the pan.  Add the balsamic, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until there is almost no liquid left.  Add the white wine and do the same.  Lower the heat to a low simmer and stir in the yogurt and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the cooked orzo and stir into the mushroom mixture.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

(This photo is from Hugh's fancy-schmancy book.)