This isn’t the first recipe for risotto that I’ve tried, but none have turned out nearly as good as this recipe did. I knew the basic idea of making risotto; slowly boil Arborio rice with stock until creamy and tender. Easy, right? Wrong! You’d be surprised how many ways there are to screw up a dish like this that is so simple yet isn’t. But once you get it right the first time, you’ll be set for life. After some trial and error, I think I have the perfect creamy chicken and mushroom risotto recipe to show you.
I’d been watching MasterChef Australia when I really got turned on to the idea of making it. After seeing so many contestants fail at it, George Calombaris finally showed us how to make a proper risotto and passed along his technique. I’m so happy that he did. I don’t know why my other attempts didn’t quite turn out. I guess it’s because George’s method requires so little fussing with it so it doesn’t turn out all broken and gluggy.
The great thing about this recipe for chicken and mushroom risotto is that it comes together in under 30 minutes. You’re often tired by the time you get off work, you’ve battled traffic and when you finally get home you don’t want to invest too much time in dinner. You can have a hearty, earthy meal in no time, which is what most of us need. You really want to spend that time in more productive ways like making dessert, right?
The process of making a creamy risotto is simple. Slowly cook the rice by adding a little bit of liquid at a time until it’s mostly absorbed, then add more. With the use of a second pan you save time by cooking the mushrooms and chicken with spices. The amount of stock used in the rice will vary so in the recipe I give a range of cups to use. I also use two kinds of cheese: Parmesan and Romano. I felt that too much Parmesan makes it too salty and the Romano balances it out since it’s a slightly milder hard cheese. I think this simple risotto turned out perfectly.
Below I’ll walk you through how I make my easy chicken & mushroom risotto. Go on, it’s OK. If you think it will help you get through your first attempt, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of white since you’ll be cooking with it anyway.
Chicken and Mushroom Risotto Recipe
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You don’t have to be intimidated by the idea of making a good risotto. With the right ingredients and technique, you can impress your loved ones and friends with this dish.
Yield: Two main course servings
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 chicken breast (or 2 thighs), sliced into 1-inch long pieces
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 3 to 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2/3 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup romano cheese, shredded (extra for garnish)
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded (extra for garnish)
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped roughly
- Salt & pepper to taste
- You will need two 10-inch saute pans, and one small sauce pan 2 quart. Pour the chicken stock into the sauce pan over medium-low heat. Place each saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in each pan, set the remaining 1 tbsp of butter aside.
- Next, in a small bowl mix the shallots & garlic together. Put 2/3 of the mix into one pan (this will be your risotto pan) and the remainder into the second pan (this will be the chicken and mushroom pan).
- Turn your risotto pan down to medium low heat don’t brown your shallots/garlic mixture just want it to take on a translucent look. In the chicken/mushroom pan, keep on medium heat once the shallots/garlic take on a light golden color add in the chicken and lightly brown.
- Once your risotto pan mixture has taken on a translucent look add in the rice. Gently toss with the shallots then add in the white wine, keep moving the pan around, think of making jiffy pop! Once it reduces down by 1/3 or the rice seems to be sticking to the bottom add in a ladle of the chicken stock. Keep moving the pan around gently in circular motion will help the rice get unstuck. Once it is moving freely stop stiring and let it simmer slowly down.
- Now turn your attention back to the chicken and mushroom pan, your chicken should almost be done cooking, and have a light golden tinge to it. Push the chicken to the sides of the pan and put the mushrooms in the middle. Level out into a layer as best as possible. The mushrooms will soak up any butter/oil mixture left in the pan and then start to brown slightly. While they are browning on one side, switch attention back to the rice
- By now your first ladle of stock should have almost been absorbed. Add in another ladle and using that same small circular motion to make the rice move freely around in the liquid again. Let it simmer and turn attention back to the mushroom mixture.
- Your mushrooms should be browned on one side now. Mix the chicken with the mushrooms and add in the Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt (optional to add pepper). Taste, the mixture and add more salt to taste. Add a half of ladle of the stock to the chicken mixture and let it simmer out quickly for 30 seconds then turn off the heat.
- Now the rice mixture will have your complete attention, keep moving the pan in small circular motions and add in more stock. At this point you should be on the third ladle of stock. Repeat the process two more times before tasting the rice mixture and you’re looking for a rice that is firm in texture but not chalky. Once you think it is almost there about 5-7 ladles of stock later, add in the cheeses along with 1 more ladle of stock. Once the ladle of stock that was added with the cheeses cooks down and the mixture looks creamy, taste.
- If you want more cheese add more, if the rice is still chalky in texture keep adding more stock, no more then a ladle full at a time, until it has reached your desired preference. Remember it should be slightly firm but not chalky in texture, and the sauce should look creamy but not cover the rice so you cannot see the grains.
- Once the rice is finished turn off the heat. Break the tablespoon of butter you set aside earlier into 4 pieces and spread around the hot rice. Let it melt, now you can use a spoon to mix the melted butter into the rice.
- To serve, place 1/3 of the chicken and mushroom mixture into the bottom of each bowl. Divide the hot risotto over the chicken mixture. Sprinkling the remaining 1/3 of the chicken mixture over both bowls, top with grated cheese and chopped parsley. Serve hot and enjoy your creamy chicken & mushroom risotto with a glass of white wine and a loved one or two.
Note: This recipe can easily be doubled for a family sized meal.