Easy Mushroom Risotto made with lemon and thyme.

We all have comforting family favorites that we can make from memory.  For me, risotto is my favorite.  I cherish the quietness in the kitchen that comes from stirring the rice slowly to release its creamy starches.  It’s meditation after a hectic day.  And while mushroom risotto has a reputation for fussiness, this recipe is utterly simple and uncomplicated and takes just a half hour of your time in the kitchen.

Like any good weeknight meal, mushroom risotto can be made in a single pan, minimizing clean up time.  Aim for a variety of mushrooms, including wild mushrooms and cultivated mushrooms, for the best flavor, and remember to stir slowly and continuously, adding more broth to your pan only as quickly as the rice absorbs it.

Why Eating Rice at Night Helps You Sleep Better

Eating carbohydrate-rich foods, like rice, may help improve your sleep quality.  Japanese researchers found that eating white rice correlated with better sleep (more here).

After eating a carbohydrate-rich meal, your body releases insulin.  Insulin helps to drive tryptophan, if you’ve consumed an adequate amount throughout the day, across the blood-brain barrier where it will support the release of serotonin (source) which helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

Mushroom Risotto with Lemon and Thyme

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Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Author:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (Here’s our favorite organic olive oil.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups Carnaroli rice (Available here.)
  • ¾ pound mixed mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups Chicken and Mushroom Broth (Available here or Homemade Chicken Broth)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
Equipment

Instructions
  1. Warm the olive oil in an enameled cast iron braising dish over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and saute it until fragrant, about three minutes. Stir in the rice, making sure each grain is well-coated with the olive oil, and saute it until the tips of each grain of rice turn translucent.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir in the mushrooms, and pour in wine. Stir the rice and mushrooms gently, but continuously until the rice absorbs the wine. Add the broth a half cup at a time, stirring continuously, and waiting for the rice to absorb the broth before adding more.
  3. When the rice is tender and has fully absorbed the broth, yielding a gorgeous creamy texture, turn off the heat, stir in the thyme, lemon zest, salt and heavy cream. Serve warm.
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Pro Tip: Your Rice and Broth Matter!

At its simplest, risotto is a dish of rice and broth, and so the quality of both can make a big difference in the outcome of your dish.  Carnaroli, and Italian Variety that you can find here, is a medium grain rice with a high starch content and it’s that slow release of the rice’s starch that gives the risotto such a creamy texture.

A gelatin-rich broth, either made at home or purchased, will also not only give a boost of protein to the risotto, but help give it an exquisite texture, too.  A mushroom-infused broth (like the one Broth and Stock) or this traditional, slow-simmered broth that you can purchase at 20% off right now with free shipping are great choices.

Easy Mushroom Risotto made with lemon and thyme.

Our Favorite Rice Dishes

Rice is easy to make, and a wonderful culinary staple used throughout the world.  It plays the star role in risotto, and other dishes, too.  Below, you’ll find some of our favorite rice dishes.

Honey Harissa Chicken over Germinated Brown Rice Pilaf is an easy, wholesome meal that is packed with flavor.

Turmeric Chicken Kebabs over Basmati Rice with Charred Scallions is another easy weeknight meal.

Garlic Spot Prawns over Lemon Herb Risotto uses sustainably caught spot prawns over a simple risotto spiked with bright lemon.

Sweet Risotto with Buttermilk and Sultanas is a fun take on traditional rice pudding, and it’s spiked with a lovely glug of amaretto.

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