An ode to Trader Joe’s: You complete me.

The other day, I realized that it is once again that time of year for one of my favorite hearty dishes: risotto.

Risotto is one of those stick to your ribs meals that is perfect in the late fall and winter.

Unfortunately, arborio rice, the rice typically used for risotto, can be pricey. Good thing Trader Joe’s has it for wicked cheap compared to your typical grocery store. Plus they have totally reasonably priced, tasty wine, which is necessary for this dish.

This Green Fin sauv blanc is dee-lish for drinking and perfect for this mushroom risotto (and it’s $5 people!!!!). I know, it’s not beer. Those of you who know me well, know that wine is my first love. I came to love beer, sort of begrudgingly after too many terrible college parties. Thank God for the hubs who showed me the craft beer light!

And yes, I have a bit of an obsession with Trader Joe’s. When I can’t find something at our local open air market, TJ’s is my go-to. I’ve taken to casually mentioning at checkout that I’m “new to town” (despite the fact that I’ve lived here for well over a year), and that it would be so great to have a TJ’s in our area of town… I even go so far as to ASK whether they’re planning on adding additional stores, saying that there is a perfect spot for one right on the Parkway (basically across the street from our house). Me = shameless. I just keep thinking, maybe my constant badgering will actually get somebody thinking this is a great idea. Unlikely. One can dream…

Hopefully the combination of delicious, hearty risotto and wine will make you forget my silly rant.

Mushroom Risotto

3 tbsp butter (1 tbsp reserved)

1 medium sized onion, diced

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 small package shiitake mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 cup arborio rice

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 box o stock (I used TJ’s organic chicken broth) plus about two cups of water

3-4 tablespoons of cream

Open up your box of stock and pour into a sauce pot on medium low heat, add to it your two cups of water. This way, when you add the broth to the risotto, it will already be nice and hot. Once it gets hot, turn down to low and cover. Place two tablespoons of butter and about a tablespoon of olive oil into a nice big skillet. Add the onion and thyme and let sweat out for a few minutes. Prepare the shiitakes, de-stemming and chopping fine, about the same size as the onion.

Add in the mushrooms, let cook for a few minutes then add the chopped garlic. Once the mushrooms get some color, add a bit of salt and pepper. After a few more minutes, add the final tablespoon of butter and the rice. Cook just long enough to toast up the rice a bit, then add the wine. Stir well and add a few ladles of your warmed broth. Continue to cook and stir, partially covered, adding one or two ladles of broth when the liquid is becoming scarce. Stir really well each time you add broth. Seriously, give it some loving. This will make the risotto super creamy and tasty. After about 35 minutes, your risotto will start plumping up. Taste and see what the rice texture and salt situation is. Add seasoning as necessary. Around 45 minutes the rice should be about done. Add a few tablespoons of cream if you wish, to make the dish even more delicious. You can also heap some parmesan cheese (though watch out because this will boost your salt a lot). If adding something green will make you feel better about all the carbs/cream/cheese, then add some frozen peas towards the end of cooking.

Boom. Delicious risotto. I drink mine with what else? Your already opened bottle of wine. So easy. Like stealing Halloween candy from a baby.

 

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