Mushroom Risotto

Life has been really hectic lately. I’m working on a second Pantry Magic cookbook, expanding my line of fruit and vegetable powders on Etsy, and it feels like forever since I’ve posted anything. But honestly, I’m having one of those days when I just want something simple and warm and nourishing. Creamy mushroom risotto is the perfect answer. I know, you’re thinking that’s too much work, all that stirring. But there’s nothing complicated about risotto, and as a matter of fact, I find the stirring kind of soothing. Besides, it doesn’t really take that long, so let’s get started.

Here is what we’ll need:

  • 1 cup of arborio rice (you could also use a short grain brown rice)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, any kind, sliced and quartered, plus 1 tablespoon of my Gourmet Mushroom Powder (you can find it for sale at ElaineintheKitchen on Etsy)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 have onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Pour the rice into a heavy bottom sauce pan with no oil or water.

Let the rice toast lightly, stirring to keep it from burning. When the rice becomes slightly fragrant, pour in the wine.  Let the wine cook down and then add 1 cup of vegetable broth.

Let the rice simmer on a medium low heat, stirring frequently. When the broth has been mostly absorbed, add another cup of broth. Continue slowly adding the broth until it has been absorbed.

In the meantime, in a preheated sauce pan, add the onions and garlic along with two tablespoons of broth.

Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the mushrooms. Sauté,stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked (10-20 minutes). Remove from the heat and cover.

When the rice is cooked and has absorbed most of the broth, add in the mushrooms and onions, along with the parsley. Stir to blend completely.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Cover, and let rest.


Served with a simple side dish of steamed carrots, tossed with maple syrup and dill.

A Plate of Creamy Goodness



Vegetable Pesto and Pasta

Sometimes you just get tired of red sauce and alfredo is more cream and cheese than my arteries can handle.  So, what to do with the fettucine?  The answer is pesto.  Of course sometimes you start out in one direction and end up somewhere else.  At least that happens to me frequently.  Not all pesto has to be made with basil or parsley, which is good because I didn’t have either one.  So what follows is somewhere between pesto and sofrito and it’s amazing on pasta. You can use it as a sauce, a seasoning mix, spread it on bread or put it in the soup.  I love versatile foods, especially the ones that include lots of vegetables, plus it’s a fast weeknight supper.  I also get to use my food processor which is always fun.

Vegetable Pesto

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1-2 cups of greens (I used a combination of chard, beet greens and collard greens)

Chop and place all of the vegetables in the food processor and pulse several times until almost smooth.  Vegetable Pesto II




Pasta wit Veg PestoPour into a skillet with enough olive oil to coat the pan and sweat the mixture on medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the fettucine until al dente, drain (reserving some of the cooking liquid) and place in a large bowl or serving dish.  Spoon the pesto over the noodles, adding some of the cooking liquid if needed, and toss until the noodles are coated.  Pasta and Pesto 006Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!



After the Garden

Well, the garden is done and everything has been canned, preserved, frozen, or eaten. Fortunately, broccoli is still in season somewhere, so it’s an inexpensive item in the supermarket. So, the soup this week is broccoli cheese. Now, I usually avoid broccoli cheese soup because it always looks like a few chunks of limp broccoli floating in a sea of mystery cheese. Just too much carb and dairy and too little lovely green stuff. Until Broccoli Cheese Soupnow. Recently, I discovered a recipe, thanks to the Test Kitchen, that does broccoli cheese soup with emphasis on the broccoli and it’s rich as butter without all the fat.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

• 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable broth
• 2 heads (pounds) broccoli, peel and trim the stems and cut in cubes, roughly chop the florets into 1-inch pieces
• 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
• 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
• 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• salt to taste
• 3–4 cups water
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda (helps get rid of those sulphur containing compounds and brings out the taste of the broccoli)
• 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken)
• 2 cups baby spinach (if using frozen, thaw and squeeze the water out)
• 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
• 1 ½ ounces Parmesan cheese, grated fine (about 3/4 cup), plus extra for serving
• Ground black pepper

1. Heat oil or broth in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes until fragrant. Add 1 cup water and the baking soda. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.

2. Add broth and 2 cups water and increase heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. You can transfer half of soup to blender, add cheddar and Parmesan, and process until smooth or leave the soup in the pot and use that immersion blender you got for Christmas. Over medium heat, bring to simmer. If the soup seems too thick, adjust consistency by adding up to a cup of water or broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Broccoli Cheese Soup VSprinkle with croutons and grated or shaved Parmesan and serve with some crusty bread.

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