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Spatula Diaries: Use local gourmet ‘shrooms in this mushroom asparagus risotto

Stroll by Mushroom Maggie’s booth at the Red Stick Farmers Market, and it’s hard not to stop and stare. Flowering fungi in a multitude of shapes and colors spill over cardboard containers, daring lovers of this versatile ingredient to get creative. Mushroom Maggie’s Farm, based in St. Francisville, routinely brings six to eight varieties of gourmet mushrooms to the market, perfect for use in omelets, on burgers, as a vegetable side dish or a hardy meat substitute.

Shiitake and pioppino mushrooms are just two of the varieties grown by Mushroom Maggie’s Farm.

But one recipe really seems to capture customers’ imaginations, says co-founder Maggie Long, and that’s mushroom risotto. Long told me recently in an interview for our mushroom story in this month’s issue that her market fans are constantly sharing their mushroom risotto recipes. It signals the popularity of this particular dish—and how complicit Maggie’s mushrooms are in its preparation.

Use a variety of mushrooms for this risotto recipe, including (from left to right) lion’s mane, chestnut and oyster. Background: shiitake.

Here’s our version, which goes the extra mile by using homemade chicken stock from a simmering stoveside pot, adding chopped asparagus for color and crunch and using fans of roasted oyster mushrooms as a final glammy garnish.


Mushroom risotto

Servings: 4

FOR THE STOCK

1 3- or 4-pound chicken
1 large yellow or white onion, quartered
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots, washed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1-2 tablespoons salt, more to taste
Sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary, washed

1. Combine all the ingredients in a stock pot, preferably with a removable basket. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about an hour. Taste for seasoning. Keep the stock simmering as you prepare the risotto.

FOR THE RISOTTO

4 tablespoons butter
4 cups fresh mushrooms (any variety), roughly chopped
1 carton Mushroom Maggie’s oyster mushrooms, any color
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
Stock from stove (or one 32-ounce carton chicken or vegetable stock)
1 cup fresh asparagus cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Fresh thyme for garnish

1. In a large skillet, heat the butter to medium high, and add the fresh mushrooms, sautéing until they are cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Heat the over to 375 degrees. Add the oyster mushrooms to a bowl, and douse with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 12-15 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through. Set aside until ready to garnish risotto.

Roast oyster mushrooms for a beautiful garnish.

3. In a Dutch oven or a risotto pot, combine the butter and remaining olive oil and heat to medium. Add the onion and rice, and sauté for about five minutes, stirring and allowing the onion to soften and the rice to brown just slightly.

4. Add the wine, continuing to stir until rice absorbs liquid.

5. Begin to add warm chicken stock, one ½ cup at a time, stirring so the rice fully absorbs the liquid before the next ½ cup is added. The rice will begin to reach al dente in about 20-25 minutes. Taste along the way.

6. Toward the end of the cooking process, add the sautéed mushrooms and chopped asparagus, cooking for about 5-7 more minutes to allow the asparagus to cook through.

7. Finish with Parmesan cheese, stirring to incorporate. Serve immediately in shallow bowls and finish with roasted oyster mushrooms, more Parmesan and fresh thyme. Enjoy.

Mushroom asparagus risotto is the perfect expression of spring.


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