One of my favourite dishes that was prepared during the Tastes of Tomorrow events was a delectable risotto made by Chef Morgan Wilson from Trios Bistro in Toronto. We gobbled up at least 4 servings of the risotto (nevermind the citrus-poached halibut and tomato, lemon and olive relish) and left contently stuffed. However, I know the secret to delicious risotto: a tasty fish broth, good quality Arborio rice, butter and lots of Parmesan cheese. The recipe says just to add Parmesan to taste, but I saw how much he added! LOTS!
Unfortunately, I probably ate my entire week’s caloric intake that night, and I knew it would have to be a very special occasion (ie. after my upcoming 70km charity bike ride would be ideal ;)) before I tackle it myself. For the other days, I need to find something a bit less artery clogging.
I found a lovely oyster mushroom and barley risotto, which I slightly adapted from the Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook. Each serving cup is 178 calories which is much easier to handle. :)
The dish is only for serious mushroom lovers. If you only kind of like mushrooms, this is not for you. Both the shiitakes and oyster mushrooms provided a meaty feel, almost akin to seafood. There was a nice earthy flavour to the dish and I liked the combination of barley with the short-grain sushi rice. There was enough cheese for flavour and texture and I liked the subtle difference Asiago brought to the meal. However, I won’t lie. It wasn’t nearly as creamy as my butter and cheese-laden risotto friend. But I am willing to make these sacrifices for my own health. ;)
Oyster Mushroom and Barley Risotto
6 cups water
2/3 cup short-grain rice (I used sushi rice but Arborio is great too)
2/3 cup pearl barley (it is important to only use pearl barley)
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used King Oyster mushrooms which were great)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (I used Asiago)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, and sliced
1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the rice and barley and return to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduced heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the barley and rice are tender and have absorbed most of the water, about 50 minutes (this was more like 35 minutes for me!).
2. About 10 minutes before the rice and barley are done, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, and saute until barely tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the barley-rice mixture to the mushrooms and stir to combine. Add the broth, cheese, and pepper. Stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is creamy.