Mushroom risotto has always been one of my favorite autumn date night meals. The rich, earthy flavors of wild mushrooms and parmesan cheese remind me of Tuscany in the fall. This risotto recipe just begs for a glass of Chianti and a flickering fire.
Even better, it bakes in the oven with hardly any stirring for the perfect balance of elegance and easy.
To give this mushroom risotto even more hearty flavor, I swapped in the Italian ancient grain – farro – in the place of rice. Not only does the farro add a deep, nutty flavor to the dish, it’s also a hearty whole grain. Layer in those mushrooms and a healthy dose of kale and this meal is downright healthy.
The key to developing that amazing deep umami flavor that only mushrooms can bring is to brown the mushrooms on the stovetop while the farro cooks in the oven. It can take some time for mushrooms to cook down and start to develop a perfect, golden crust. Don’t rush it! It’s worth taking your time. That golden color brings out so much flavor in the final risotto dish.
All that’s left is to add a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a squirt of lemon juice and you’ve got the perfect date night dinner. Better go throw another log on the fire. It’s going to be a very cozy night.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- .5 cups shallots or onion, chopped
- 1.5 cups pearled farro
- .5 cups white wine
- 4 cups mushroom stock, heated to a simmer
- 8 oz mixed mushrooms such as crimini, oyster and enoki, sliced
- .5 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 loosely packed cups kale, stemmed and chopped
- .25 cups good quality Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- While oven is warming, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on the stovetop in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add shallot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add farro and toss to evenly coat in oil. Add white wine cook for 2 minutes, until absorbed. Add 3 cups of mushroom stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover pot and transfer to preheated oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
- While farro cooks, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have reduced by half. Add thyme and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown in color.
- Remove farro from oven and add kale. Stir to combine and return to oven to bake for 10 minutes more, until kale and farro are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove farro from oven and stir in mushrooms, parmesan cheese, butter and lemon juice. Stir until cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.