Tag Archives: risotto

Wild Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps

Last year we picked hundreds of pounds of boletes — wild porcini mushrooms. We dried them and have since not consumed many of them; so before we hit mushroom season this summer we decided we better start using these earthy, flavorful morsels.

Wild mushrooms pair well with risotto. I had a half box of Barilla Orzo pasta, which look like grains of rice. I thought the orzo would taste super with portobello and porcini with a hint of lemon and garlic.

Costco sells a four pack of portobello caps for just a few dollars. I lightly marinated them in oil and vinegar then grilled them over high heat and topped them with roasted bell peppers and chèvre. The fresh arugula salad was the perfect accompaniment to the meal with a simple lemon vinaigrette.

This is a quick meal that’s hearty and vegetarian too.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

Wild Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad

Serves 3


4 portobello caps

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

4 Tbs. butter

Olive oil

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 cup dry orzo pasta

2 cloves garlic

zest and juice of one lemon

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup crumbled chèvre

3 mini bell peppers

salt and pepper



Bring a cup of water to boil. Pour over the dried mushrooms and cover. Set aside for 15 minutes. Remove the stems from portobello caps and set aside. Remove the gills with a spoon. Lightly score the tops of three of the caps with a paring knife. Reserve one cap for the orzo. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, the vinegars, one minced clove of garlic salt and pepper to a one-gallon ziploc bag. Carefully add the caps, seal and gently toss to coat the caps. Let sit 30 minutes to an hour.

Chop the stems and one portobello cap. Remove the porcini mushrooms and reserve the liquid. Chop the porcini. Set aside.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the orzo for 7 minutes. Drain and set aside. Lightly toss with olive oil so they don’t stick together. Meanwhile, heat the butter and one tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated from them. Add the lemon zest and one minced clove of garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, till garlic is fragrant. Add the orzo, 1/4 cup of reserved mushroom liquid and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Toss thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

Set all burners on your gas grill to high and heat for 15 minutes. Chop the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Skewer them on a metal skewer. Turn grill burners to med-high and set the peppers and the mushroom caps, top side down, on the grill. Cover and grill for about 4 minutes. Flip and grill another 4 minutes. Remove everything from grill and slice the peppers. Serve the caps with sliced peppers and crumbled chèvre alongside the orzo, sprinkled with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Porcini Orzo with Grilled Portobello Caps and Baby Arugula Salad | Alaska Knit Nat

For the salad: Top baby arugula with sliced cherry tomatoes, blueberries and crumbed chèvre. Squeeze fresh lemon on top and drizzle on extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Mushroom Risotto with Parsnip Purée

Yesterday on my way to work I was listening to a story on NPR’s Morning Edition about Mediterranean cooking and a chef was talking about a mushroom risotto with parsnip purée. They didn’t provide a recipe, so I patched my own together from several different recipes I found online.

As usual, the photo falls flat (it’s dark when I eat dinner!) but trust me, if you like mushrooms, this is a great meal and can easily be made vegetarian if you sub veggie stock for chicken stock.

I technically didn’t use Arborio rice for last night’s meal. I used farro, which is an ancient grain that’s supposedly really healthy and can be found at health food stores. Use whatever grain you desire, you’ll still have a flavorful dish.

I’ve not really cooked parsnips before, and purée sounds fancy, but is really just cooked parsnips put in the blender. Simple, creamy, flavorful and a great topping to the risotto.

I served this with chicken piccata — cutlets in a white wine lemon sauce with capers.

Ingredients for risotto:
1/2 onion, finely chopped
olive oil
3/4 lb. crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
3/4 cup dried Arborio rice, farro or brown rice
1/4 cup dry white wine or sherry
2-3 cans chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

For the parsnips:
1/2 lb. parsnips, peeled and largely diced
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs. butter
salt and pepper to taste

In a small microwave safe bowl, place the porcini mushrooms with 1/4 cup stock and 1/4 cup water. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and heat for two minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. Reserve the liquid and finely chop the porcini mushrooms.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet. Sauté the crimini and porcini mushrooms for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Set mushrooms and any liquid aside. Add another small swig of olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent, about five minutes. Add the dry rice and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the white wine and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Add half the mushroom water and cook till absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining mushroom water. Continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time letting rice absorb the liquid before adding more, stirring occasionally for about 20-30 minutes when rice becomes tender.

Meanwhile, add the milk and parsnips to a small saucepan and simmer till parsnips are tender, about 20 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the milk as it can easily boil over if heat is too high. While parsnips are cooking, heat the butter in a small frying pan. Add the 1/2 cup onion and sauté till soft, about five minutes.

Add milk, parsnips and onions to a blender and blend till completely puréed. Transfer to a small serving bowl, season with salt and pepper, cover and set aside.

When the rice is tender and ready to eat, turn off the heat. Stir in the mushrooms, butter and cheese till well combined. Serve risotto with dollops of parsnip purée.