Risotto is one of those dishes that I love to make because I never make it the same way. It’s what I love to do as a cook – improvise!
Typically I use butter, aromatics, wine, broth, and finish with cream and/or cheese.
But the add-in options are practically endless. I’ve used chopped tomatoes, grated zucchini, pesto, canned pumpkin, and carrot juice. It all works. I’ve even made risotto with Thai flavors. Who says risotto must only have Italian flavors? Well, some people might, but I’m 63% Italian, so I stand my ground.
There are two reasons that this risotto is unique. One reason is that I’m using tomato powder.
I posted a while back on a book called The Spice Companion, and in it I learned how to make a powder simply from oven-dried tomatoes.
The other special ingredient is mushroom powder, which is a seasoned mixture of ground dried mushrooms. I found the recipe on Tandy Sinclair’s blog called Lavender and Lime.
I didn’t follow her recipe exactly, shown below, only because Tandy included rosemary and thyme and I wanted the mushroom powder more generic in flavor.
My version had garlic pepper, black pepper, white pepper, and cayenne pepper plus salt in a variety of wild dried mushrooms that I ground using a dry blender jar.
So here’s how I made this risotto.
Tomato Mushroom Risotto
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely diced
1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
Big splash of Riesling or Pinot Gris or Graves
Chicken broth, mildly flavored, approx. 2 1/2 cups
1 heaping tablespoon tomato powder
1 tablespoon mushroom powder
Salt, to taste
Grated Parmesan, optional
Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and sauté slowly; don’t allow much browning.
Add the rice and stir well for a minute. All of the grains should be coated with butter.
Add some wine and stir in well.
Then begin adding the broth, a little at a time and stir well after each addition. Stirring is an important part to the resulting creaminess of the risotto.
As you’re continuing to add broth and stir the rice, find that special position on the stove where the liquid isn’t cooking off too fast, but the fire isn’t so low that cooking stops.
When the rice has absorbed just about all of the liquid it can, add the tomato and mushroom powders and stir well.
Continue adding broth, water, or even some cream, until the rice is fully cooked. Taste for salt.
I personally love white pepper in risottos, but I didn’t want it to overpower the tomato and mushroom flavors.
To serve, I added a bit of grated Parmesan. Feta cheese would be good as well.
Plus I sprinkled on a few parsley leaves just for color.
The tomato and mushroom flavors in this risotto really sing. Grilled steak or chicken could be added, or maybe some braised short ribs. But I will always have tomato powder and mushroom powder in my seasoning arsenal.