If there were one food I hated with a passion as a child, it would be “mushrooms”. In defense of the “fungus among us”, most of the shrooms I remember seeing were those oil-soaked pieces of rubber that come from a can. And as a foodie, I know I need to get over it: mushrooms are pretty basic. But even now I shrivel and sometimes even gag at the thought of eating them.
So, in what seems like an unrelated note, I recently decided to have a group of friends over for braised oxtail. I didn’t want to do a “typical-for-braising” starch like mashed potatoes or rice, or even polenta. For some reason, I thought at the time that the best starch would be mushroom risotto. And I think retrospectively it was perfect. While the oxtail itself was a pain (so much work for so little meat!), the risotto was INHALED. Zero left overs.
This dish obviously is vegetarian friendly. It does take quite a bit of care and time; you have to stir almost constantly for 30-45 minutes. But if you ever needed an endorsement for a dish here it is: this makes me like mushrooms.
- One box orzo
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Two large cloves garlic, minced
- White wine (don’t cook with anything you wouldn’t eat)
- Mushrooms (I used a mix of fresh portobellos, oysters, and shiitakes)
- After washing them, coarsely chop all the mushrooms. In a large skillet saute them in butter, salt, pepper, and garlic.
- When the mushrooms are soft(er), add the orzo. Coat the orzo in olive oil (but don’t drown it).
- Add 2 cups of liquid at a time–a constant mix of half white wine and half water. You will have to repeat this 2-3 times until the orzo is fully cooked.
- Once the orzo is cooked, serve IMMEDIATELY (this stuff is like grits. It has about 20 minutes until it becomes a rock).