Friday, March 28, 2014

All About "Rice" And A "Mushroom Risotto" Recipe... Delicious!!

If you have walked down the rice aisle lately at the supermarket, you’ve no doubt been surprised at the number of options available for the consumer who needs to purchase this very common staple. These days, rice is no longer just a few select varieties. Worldwide there are more than 40,000 different varieties of rice. There are about 20 rice types grown in the US. They are classified as Long, Medium or Short grain. California grows, short and medium grain. While Arkansas produces medium and long grain varieties. Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas grow long grain rice with some production of medium grain varieties in each state. Long Grain: perfect choice for a side dish, main dish, or salad recipes. Medium grain: ideal for dessert, casseroles, bread and stir-fry recipes. Short grain: great for stir-fry recipes and puddings. Did you know that rice consumption is on the rise? In fact, Americans eat twice as much rice now than they did 10 years ago. People have been growing rice for almost 10,000 years. 

Rice has many health benefits such as being rich in fiber. Rice reduces blood pressure due to its low sodium content. It also has the presence of potassium. Rice will stimulate the elimination of liquids, reduces the pressure, and risks of heart problems. Brown rice is the healthiest and white rice is the least nutritional, but it is not considered particularly unhealthy. Rice is high in complex carbohydrates, contains almost no fat, is cholesterol free, and gluten free which makes it easily digestible. 

Rice is a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia. It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after corn. Rice was introduced to Europe through Western Asia, and to the Americas through European colonization. Muslims brought rice to Sicily, where it was an important crop. It was cultivated and promoted by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. In the year 1694, in the USA, rice arrived in South Carolina, probably originating from Madagascar.

There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally. Raw rice may be ground into flour for many uses, including making many kinds of beverages, such as rice milk, and rice wine. Rice flour does not contain gluten, so is suitable for people on a gluten-free diet. Rice flour and starch often are used in batters and a breading method to increase crispiness. Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming, and absorbs water during cooking. It can be cooked in just as much water as it absorbs, or in a large quantity of water which is drained before serving. Electric rice cookers, more popular in Asia and Latin America, simplify the process of cooking rice. Arborio rice is sometimes quickly fried in oil or fat before boiling (for example saffron rice or risotto); this makes the cooked rice less sticky, and is a cooking style commonly called Pilaf by American chefs in India, Pakistan, and Iran. Almost one in five adult Americans reports eating at least half a serving of white or brown rice per day.

Arborio rice: Arborio rice is named after a town in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of northwest Italy. A short grain Italian white rice, Arborio is popular in risotto and other Italian rice dishes. Arborio's short, plump grains contain more starch than most other rice varieties, which makes it ideal for starchy rice dishes like risotto. It is also well suited for rice dishes where the rice must retain a shape, like sushi. Its pearly appearance and short, fat grains are expected to be served slightly al dente, still firm inside. It can be ground into flour and added to dishes that require a creamy consistency.

Please join me in cooking this recipe which is a favorite of my family. It is made with Arborio rice. This dish is called, “Mushroom Risotto.” This rice dish can be a tasty side with either chicken and or fish. I know that your family would love it just like mine does. Don’t get discouraged making Risotto. It takes practice to get your Risotto to the perfect consistency. The main key to making this recipe is stirring the rice in the same direction and always use a wooden spoon. The reason for the wooden spoon is that it will not break down the rice in your Risotto. This recipe is adapted from Chef Tomm‘s “Risotto.” Note: This recipe is the base for all risottos. For instance if you wanted to make this a chicken and grilled asparagus you would cook the chicken and asparagus separately then add them hot, toss them with the risotto then finish it by adding the cheese and butter.

Mushroom Risotto

2 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, cut into small dice (approximately 1/ 4 inch)
10 ounces baby Portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/ 2 cup of white wine (the kind you like to drink)
2 sprigs of Thyme
7 cups Chicken stock, hot (it doesn’t stop the process of cooking if it is hot)
Note: (You may not need all of the stock)
4 tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or more if you like
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus for shaving (or more if you like)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a 12 to 14-inch skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms. Cook the onions until translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Once the onions are translucent add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine to the toasting rice ensuring that it is all cooked off before you add any stock. Add a 6-ounce ladle of the chicken stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Add in two sprigs of thyme. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the thyme. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and cheese until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Portion risotto into 4 warmed serving plates, serving with extra shaved cheese. Bon Appetit !

Wine Pairings To Drink;

Barolo Wine: A red wine from Piedmont, Italy with ripe cherry, raspberry, and creamy vanilla spice. 

Pinot Noir Wine: A red wine with red berry, truffles, and it is earthy.


Till Next Time………………………………....................................

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  1. Hi Dottie , what a delicious dish ,I enjoy the different types of rice , the rice grown in Louisiana is called Cajun rice and it comes in long , medium , short . I have enjoyed some of the rice that is mention in your post . If you can't find it in your local super market ... It can be found in specialty shops for unique herbs and foods . Lucky me , I live in a large city .
    Dear Dottie , I do like your choice of wine with this delicious recipe , I also like your note on chicken and grilled asparagus , it do make the dish better . Thanks for sharing and Have a great weekend and blessing Dottie ... Nee :)

    1. Hi Nee,
      Thank you so stopping by, As I was writing this post on rice, I thought about you and Cajun rice, I think I maybe able to find that rice, I also live in an area that has many different stores. So glad that you loved reading about all types of rice and my recipe as well. Yes, the wine was an after thought, but it doesn't hurt to let my readers know what type to choose, if they care to. With Risotto you can add so many different ingredients to this dish, The chicken and the veggies are a great choice, but they have to be cooked separately, and hot, I have also added shrimp.
      Enjoy! and have a blessed weekend..Dottie :) .

  2. I cook rice very often, in fact I have lots at home as I have bought it in bulk but it lasts! I love to try cooking risotto in many different ways. I love Arborio but my favourite is the most expensive Carnaroli which has a less creamy consistency but I love it in risottos!
    I enjoyed reading this very informative writing about rice and love your recipe for mushroom risotto! Have a nice weekend lovely Dottie X

    1. Hi Alida,
      That is a great idea that you buy rice in bulk. My mom used to do that when I was young, with a family of 5 it always came in handy, and you are correct it does keep for a long time. I have never heard of that rice that is your favorite, Carnaroli. Less creamy in risotto, I will have to try to find that brand. Happy that you enjoyed this post. I love rice of all kinds and anyway. My grandmother used to make white rice, with egg, and parsley, then we would add some grated romano cheese on top. It was creamy and thick but so good just like a risotto. Thank you for visiting, you have a great weekend as well. Blessings Dottie :) .

  3. Hi Dottie!
    I get so confused when I see all the different rice choices at the grocery store. I have totally gone bonkers for Jasmine rice and make it at least once a week. (Marion loves the aroma too:)

    Risotto is of course a long time favorite of mine although, I haven't made it in quite some time.

    The information you have gathered on the production of rice is amazing! I remember when I did a rather in depth post about rice for National Rice Month and boy oh boy, the wealth of information was staggering.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Dottie. I really need to make a nice risotto soon:)

    1. Dearest Louise, Sorry it took so long for me to respond, it has been a crazy day! It started out with 4-5 inches of snow this morning. It came from out of the blue, no one expected it. But anyhow, thanks for stopping by...I know what you mean about the types of rices...too many on the shelves to choose from. Now I don't think I ever had Jasmine rice, have to check that one out. I just love Risotto, any kind, with veggies, chicken, shrimp, etc. It is so creamy and flavorful. When I did my research, Louise I was so amazed at the plethra of information that they had on rice and the production. I could have written a book on this alone. I have learned so much which is what I love about writing this blog. Glad that you enjoyed reading...I am so sorry I haven't even looked at your blog yet, I promise I will. Have a blessed rest of the week and say hello to Marion...Dottie :)

    2. I heard about the surprise snow you guys got down there Dottie. The guys said the trucks were frozen, again!

      You really should try to find Jasmine rice Dottie. It has a delicate aroma and taste. Marion loves it too!

      You really did some job sharing all this informatin, Dottie. Thank you so much. If you get a chance, I'll leave the link for my National Rice Month post. It has a few rice recipes from South Carolina. Have a wonderful Day, Dottie. I hear lots of sunshine is in the forecast:)

    3. Hi Louise, Yes we did have a surprise snow, but most of it is melting now. Just some piles on the side of the roads. Next time I go shopping I will have to check on the Jasmine Rice. I think the way you describe it, I will really like it. I am going to check on the link you gave me for the National Rice Day. Looking forward to your recipes with rice. Your recipes are so delicious all the time. Yes, there are reports that the sun will be working hard, giving us lots of sun to bask in. We need some good days filled with warmth. Thanks for your visiting ...Have a blessed rest of the week...Dottie :)

  4. Dear Dottie, I love rice, though it has become expensive along with most things. I try to get it when it is on sale. This certainly is a good lesson in the different rice varieties.
    The risotto looks wonderful. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    1. Hi Catherine, I agree with you , I love rice. It has become expensive just like so many other food products. I buy it on sale as well, in bulk is better at Costco, sometimes they have good deals. Louise, uses Jasmine Rice, never had that one before, but as you read there are so many varieties..The Risotto is so creamy and delicious. i just love it. Thanks for your visit. Blessed weekend! :)