Browning the Mushrooms for Risotto

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,092
    Chef Salvatore Ambrosino demonstrates how to make mushroom risotto, including how to brown the mushrooms.

    Salvatore Ambrosino

    Salvatore Ambrosino is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Sal is the chef and owner (along with his two brothers) of Pomodoro Pasta, Pizza and More in Fairfax, Virginia. Born in Italy and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Sal specializes in rustic Italian dishes. He loves interacting with the people in his restaurant and, of course, cooking.

    Hi, I am Sam, the chef of Pomodoro in Fairfax. We are talking about our Porcini Mushroom Risotto, and our next step that would be, to lightly brown our mushrooms, our porcini mushrooms, and to bring out stock to a simmer, which we have going on right here.

    So, let's get started, and the first thing we are going to do, is we are going to obviously, turn the heat on the stock already to save a little time, I did that already. Get a little heat going under. It's important to have a heavy bottom pan or pot when you are doing this, because it helps in the process. A thin pan would overheat and you will have no control over the heat. This helps to control the heat. I'll explain to you why, as we are going along. So, we have got some fire going, the pan should be hot. It should take about two to three minutes, especially with the heavy bottom. What we are going to add is our extra virgin olive oil. I am going to lightly throw it in the pan. We never want to burn olive oil. We dont to lose any flavor and thats not the point. So, we are going to take two tablespoons of butter, actually maybe one-and-a-half. When you hear that nice little, shhh; thats ready to rock and roll. So, we are going to take our mushrooms, and we are going to slightly brown them. We are not going to cook it through, because we are going to finish it in the risotto.

    So, we are going to take -- and when you are adding anything hot to a hot pan, its always away from you. Not this way, not this way, but this way. Let me show you. See, how I did that? Its away from me. So, I am never going to get any splutter on me. So, what we are doing, now, this is a trick. You slightly saut, we have our trusty wooden spoon, and this we are going to use to stir. This is just a pretty much a given, we are just going to watch till the edges get brown. Nothing more, because we are not cooking it through, we are not shrinking. We are just giving a little texture and flavor to it. Theres a rule about cooking, you always season as you go. Every item is part of the dish, so you season as you go. So, what I am going to do is place this down. I am going to get a little salt. I wish you could smell this. Just sprinkle a little salt on top, little black pepper, and thats it. So, we let this a big stir, can you smell this? If you noticed, the edges have already started browning. Thats what we are looking for, nothing more, nothing less. Just consistently moving and allowing it to cook, and not rushing it. Its important not to rush. Actually, what I should be doing is laying it flat. So, you get a nice, clean, all around color. We are pretty much ready to go. What we are going to do is shut off the heat and set this aside. Our next step would be to start our onions, so we can do our rice and get that going.