The Night Before Christmas goes something like..”the children were tucked all snug in their beds, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.” I awoke Sunday morning, not with visions of sugarplums, but with a list of Christmas cooking “to-dos” dancing in my head. I used the morning dog walk to organize my plan of attack. I try to bring a few different dishes with me when we go to Michigan, so that I always have something safe to eat, and can just heat something up quicky, rather than have family figure out how to feed me.
My list for the day included: a batch of granola bars, roasted applesauce, roast chicken, quinoa, and a simple mushroom risotto to take along as a side dish for Christmas dinner. I know that risotto isn’t *quite* as good leftover, but it’s still darned tasty, and I wanted to make something different than the usual container of wild rice I’ve brought home the last couple holidays.
Everyone seems to be impressed when you serve risotto at a dinner party…the real secret is that it’s not difficult at all to make, it just takes a dedicated half hour at the stove, stirring the rice frequently, and adding the broth bit by bit. But the resulting dish is a creamy, comforting meal that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Pair the risotto with a nice green salad, and you’ve got dinner.
Serves 4 as a main course
8 Weight Watchers points per serving
1 1/4 cup aborio rice
3/4 c white wine
5 cups mushroom broth or chicken stock
2 T Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, diced
3 cups mushrooms, sliced
salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp dried thyme
handful of chopped parsley
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
- Warm the broth in a covered pan, and maintain temperature at a bare simmer throughout the cooking process.
- Slice the mushrooms. Heat large, non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 T olive oil. When skillet is hot, add mushrooms – cook the mushrooms in one layer, cooking in small batches if necessary, and sauté until tender, about 6-10 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper as you cook. Set mushrooms aside in a bowl.
- Heat 1 T of the olive oil on medium heat in the same large non-stick skillet. Add garlic and onions, sauté for 30 seconds. Add rice and stir frequently until rice is coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine, and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, and add broth in 1 cup intervals, while stirring until absorbed. Season with Salt and pepper as the risotto cooks. It will take about 30 minutes to cook the risotto. You may have a little broth left over when the risotto is tender and finished, or if you run out of broth, simply add a bit of hot water to finish cooking, until rice is done.
- When the risotto is finished, add the mushrooms, chopped parsley and parmesan cheese, stir until the mushrooms are heated through & serve!