Monday, March 29, 2010

Creamy Mushroom & Pea Risotto

Mushrooms. Peas. Cheese. Three foods I pretty much adore.

This risotto has all the earthy flavor of mushrooms combined with the crisp flavor of peas and tang of cream cheese. As if those flavors weren't enough, I am absolutely in love with the way the fresh parsley compliments the warmth of this dish. It definitely gave the creaminess of the risotto a pleasant green pop and taste. Is green a taste? Probably not, but I feel like you can almost taste green here.

I added a little extra cheesy goodness by sprinkling about 1 teaspoon of shredded Italian-blend cheese on top right before eating. It's not at all necessary, but I liked it. Then again, we've already established that I really like cheese.

Creamy Mushroom & Pea Risotto
Serves 6 - 12
Points 5 (1 cup serving), 2 (1/2 cup serving)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release moisture, about 5 minutes. Add white wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half.

Add the arborio rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until translucent. Add 1/2 cup  of broth and bay leaves. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing liquid to absorb completely before adding the next 1/2 cup.

Remove bay leaves. Add cream cheese and stir until completely incorporated. Fold in peas and cook until hot about 1 minute. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon risotto into bowls and top with sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Serving sizes can vary depending on what you're trying to accomplish. As a side dish accompanying chicken, you can easily get away with 1/2 cup servings. Since we were having the risotto as the main dish for lunch, I heaped up 1 cup servings which was quite filling. I may have given Shannon 1 1/2 cups. Don't tell anyone.

Now grab your fork and dig in! I did.

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