Mushroom Risotto with Asparagus and Fava Beans – Recipe, Including Pressure Cooker Variation

Mushroom Risotto With Asparagus and Fava Beans
Mushroom Risotto With Asparagus and Fava Beans

This risotto packs a powerful mushroom intensity. I finely chop a whole pound of mushrooms in a food processor, then saute them in olive oil until they give up all of their liquid and develop deep flavor. This is similar to the French method for mushroom duxelles. Then the mushrooms are cooked along with the rice. I use water instead of broth to allow the mushroom flavor to shine.

I made this with cultivated mushrooms, but if you happen to have fresh porcini on hand, they would be incredible in this dish.

Fresh fava beans are wonderful, but I used to dread peeling them until I learned a great trick from Aki & Alex’s Ideas In Food Cookbook. First, remove the outer pod, then freeze the beans. The next day, thaw them. That simple step loosens their jacket. Then just pinch off a bit of skin and squeeze and they pop right out. The freeze/thaw cycle also makes the bean itself more tender, because ice crystals break some of the cell walls. Alex & Aki call this cryo-blanching. The fava beans are so good this way that they don’t need to be cooked.

There are two schools of thought on the ideal texture for risotto. The classic Venetian style is called all’onda, which means “wavy”, i.e. quite wet. In contrast the Piedmontese style is a bit more firm. The picture above is definitely too dry, I should have added a bit more liquid. I was actually experimenting with pressure cooker risotto for the first time. It worked well but I was a little tentative. I’m offering you both the traditional stovetop method and the pressure cooker variation below.

(By the way, if you are in need of a pressure cooker, I love this electric Cuisinart model, and Amazon has it for an excellent price at the moment. Besides risotto, the way it cooks beans has changed my world.)

Whichever way you make risotto, I highly recommend finishing with mantecare. This just means mixing in some butter and parmigiano at the end to add a final dose of creaminess – but as with everything else it sounds a lot more romantic in Italian.

Mushroom Risotto with Asparagus and Fava Beans
Gluten-free / Serves 4
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar (the thick, syrupy, expensive stuff – optional)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup cryo-blanched and peeled fava beans (see headnote)
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano + more for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Stovetop version

  1. Run the mushrooms in a food processor with the regular blade until they are very finely chopped. You may need to work in two batches.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is shimmering, add the mushrooms and garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give up all of their liquid and dry out, about 20 minutes.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it is shimmering, add the asparagus and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until it is tender and browning in spots. Stir in the balsamic vinegar to glaze. Set aside.
  4. Warm your serving bowls. Heat 2 tablespons of olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the rice, and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice appears somewhat translucent, about 2 minutes. Bring 5 cups of water to a simmer. Stir in the white wine and cook until it is absorbed. Stir in the mushrooms. Lower heat to medium low and stir in 1 cup of the simmering water. Keep cooking, stirring firmly and frequently and adding water as each previous cup is absorbed. When you’ve added 4 cups, start checking a grain periodically. When the rice is fully tender but still offers a slight al dente resistance (but absolutely not a snap) it is done.
  5. Beat the the Parmigiano and butter into the rice. Taste and add more salt if needed. Depending on whether you want to serve the risotto in a dry or wet style, you may need to stir in a bit more water.
  6. Divide the risotto among the serving bowls. Top each with some of the asparagus and fava beans, and an additional bit of Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Pressure-cooker variation

  1. Same as above.
  2. Do this in the pressure cooker base, then reserve the mushrooms.
  3. Same as above.
  4. Warm your serving bowls. Heat 2 tablespons of olive oil in the pressure cooker base over medium-high heat. Add the rice, and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice appears somewhat translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and stir until it evaporates. Add the mushrooms and 4 cups water. Bring to high pressure and cook for 5 minutes and 30 seconds. Release pressure quickly according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Often by running under cold water). Check a grain to be sure it is correctly al dente. If still too firm, cook a little bit more without pressure, and remember to add an additional 30 seconds next time.
  5. Same as above. If too dry, stir in additional simmering water.
  6. Same as above.

 

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Main Courses, Recipes.

12 Responses to “Mushroom Risotto with Asparagus and Fava Beans – Recipe, Including Pressure Cooker Variation”

  1. June 1, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    I wouldn’t have thought to use water inst. of broth but your logic makes total sense…allows the mushrooms to have the spotlight. Very insightful…

  2. June 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    I’m ashamed to admit I usually only use my PC to make dulce de leche or to cook dried beans. This looks like a much more interesting and delicious option! Great post.

  3. Michael Natkin
    June 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    Those are two of my favorite uses too!

  4. June 2, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Your dish looks amazing!

  5. June 3, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    I love your method for preparing the mushrooms, it must coax out so much flavor. And thanks for sharing that fava bean method – I also always dread shelling them!

  6. June 4, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    Looks lovely :-). I prefer the stovetop method myself.

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  7. June 4, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Mmm, this looks SO good – the fava beans are a great twist. Do you use normal crimini mushrooms? baby bellas? whatever’s in stock? I wonder if something like fresh chanterelles or shiitakes would shine or just get lost in the rice (if you could afford/find them)?

  8. Michael Natkin
    June 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Thanks! I did this with criminis, but you can absolutely experiment with other options. I'm pretty sure morels, shiitakes or porcini would be amazing; chanterelles might be great or maybe their more delicate flavor would be lost in this treatment. 

  9. June 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    This looks great…we just recently became fans of risotto. I’ve been making it for my 17 month old and just omit the wine, which works out well. Btw I am in need of a new pressure cooker and am going to check out the one you linked to – electric seems less scary than the stovetop variety too.

  10. Michael Natkin
    June 7, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    Thanks, Nithya! I think you'll love that pressure cooker. (link to amzn.to). I just find it is really consistent, and the controls are well designed. Plus it is nice to have it off the stove.

    Michael Natkin
    Find me:
    The latest from my blog, Herbivoracious: Three Easy Banchan (Korean Side Dishes) – Recipes

  11. Jackie
    June 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    It’s so cool that I just read this post while I was enjoying my favorite mushroom-risotto-in-the-pressure-cooker recipe. I’ll definitely try it next time with the mushrooms and water cooked with the rice. My “mantecare” consists of a healthy addition of gorgonzola cheese and Parmesan, and I tossed in chopped parsley and a thin-sliced spring onion. It’s so creamy and earthy and so quick and easy in the pressure cooker.

  12. Michael Natkin
    June 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Mmm, your version sounds delicious!

    Michael Natkin
    Find me:
    The latest from my blog, Herbivoracious: Double Crust Pizza with Broccoli Raab, Ricotta and Caramelized Onions – Recipe

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