I don’t know about you, but I am not very patient in the kitchen. I mean, if something is cooking away unassisted, that’s totally fine. But if I have to stand there and babysit something when I could be sitting down with a beer watching Netflix, well, it ain’t happenin’.
This is probably why I’ve never made a successful risotto before last night.
Less often than once a blue moon, I would say to myself, “Okay, Jessica, tonight we make risotto!” And I would lovingly but somewhat begrudgingly go through all the steps of sauteeing the aromatics, toast the rice, preheat the stock, and slowly add, and add…and add…and add…until all the liquid was gone and I would sit down with a steaming bowl of ricey comfort.
Except the rice was never cooked enough. Or in the hour it took me (Giada, you lied.), the garlic was burnt and bitter. Or my arm was so tired from stirring, I couldn’t lift the spoon to my mouth to sample my mediocre attempt.
So I gave up on the thought of ever enjoying a perfect risotto. Until I read in The Italian Slow Cooker that you could let the slow cooker do the work while you sat down with a beer and watched Netflix!
And, my friends, it worked.
I used brown short-grain rice instead of white for the first time (I’m telling you, it’s been a long time since I tried making risotto), which takes longer to cook, but that didn’t bother me — I just had another beer! You can find short-grain rice in the bulk bins of your grocery store.
There is a bit of prep work, but this is no more involved than slicing and sauteeing some veg. And compared to the traditional stove-top method, well, it is at least 1000% less intensive.
First you saute some onion and garlic in butter and olive oil.
Is there anything more wonderful than that smell of onion and garlic?
Add in the rice and coat all the grains with that delicious mix of fats. Transfer to the slow cooker and add the stock. Turn on high.
Once that’s got a head start, slice up your mushrooms.
With a little more butter/oil love, saute these babies down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (okay, so there is a tiny bit of stirring in this recipe…) until richly colored and cooked down a bit. Add to the slow cooker with another quick stir.
Now you can crack open that beer you’ve been waiting for because your work is done! After an hour, check on the rice to see if all the liquid’s been absorbed. I don’t recommend taking the lid off; that will just add to your cooking time. You really don’t need to worry about stirring! Check again every 20 minutes or so. It’s done when all the liquid has been absorbed.
Top with fresh parsley and a ridiculous amount of Parmesan cheese.
Okay, maybe you want to mix that up and top with just a touch more cheese. I won’t judge.
I also topped my leftovers with feta, which may have been even better than the parm. Hey, I’m all for experimenting!
You can use this technique as a base for a multitude of risottos. I for one can’t wait to try a butternut squash version! What about you?
No-Stir Risotto with Mushrooms
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6+ as a side.
Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 1.5-2 hours
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 tbsp oil, divided
- 2 cups short-grain brown rice
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3-4 cups sliced mushrooms
- Parsley and Parmesan or feta cheese for topping
- Saute onion in garlic in half of the butter and olive oil. Once nicely browned (about 5 minutes), add in rice to coat. Transfer to slow cooker.
- Add stock and turn on high.
- Saute mushrooms in the remaining butter and oil until cooked down, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add to slow cooker.
- Check after about an hour, and every 20 minutes after that, for all the liquid to be absorbed.
- Top with parsley and cheese. Devour.