Today, I’m trying out something that I’ve had on my “to try” list for a very long time: risotto made from steel cut oats. I’d seen it on a restaurant menu, although hadn’t tried it yet. A quick spin through the Google machine led me to this, which confirmed that the process for this risotto was exactly the same as it it for traditional risotto made with arborio rice. Which is perfect, because I bet I could make risotto with a blindfold on and one hand tied behind my back.
I’m so in love with this recipe for a couple of reasons. Primarily, because it alleviated my feelings of guilt for buying a tin of oatmeal purely for the container. Now, anyone who’s ever been out to breakfast with me knows: I really don’t like sweet breakfast (I don’t even like donuts, and I’ll make bizarro savory hashes out of sweet cereal). Pancakes and waffles only rarely have their place at my table, and that’s only at dinner-time. Never in the morning. So, the chances of me eating this oatmeal, in a sweet capacity, for breakfast, were non-existent. This risotto allowed me to eat them in a savory way, and it was damn tasty.
I made this a mushroom risotto just because that’s my favorite type of risotto to make. I’ve made all different flavors, but I keep coming back to basic mushroom-Parmesan risotto. It’s like an old friend. I used a large package (8 ounces) of traditional white mushrooms, as well as a smaller package (4 ounces) of “gourmet mushroom blend” (which included cremini, shitake and oyster), just to keep things interesting. This dish was PACKED with mushrooms, making it a very satisfying meatless meal. I also flavored it up with a leek and a generous amount of dried ground sage and fresh thyme. I kept it vegetarian by using homemade vegetable stock, but this would also be delicious with chicken or beef stock. I added a little bit of Parmesan cheese at the end, and boom! I was eating oatmeal for dinner!
Savory Mushroom and Herb Steel Cut Oat Risotto
- 5-1/2 cups vegetable stock (chicken or beef stock may also be used)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 leek (white and light green part only), halved lengthwise then cut crosswise into thin slices
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces mushrooms (I used 8 ounces white mushrooms + 4 ounces “gourmet mushroom blend”)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground dried sage
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup steel cut Irish oatmeal (not the quick-cooking kind)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- In medium saucepan with lid, heat stock over medium heat until simmering, then reduce heat to low and keep covered.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek and salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme and sage; cook 7 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are very deeply browned, stirring frequently. Add wine, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add oatmeal; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 2 ladles of hot stock, cook until oats have absorbed almost all of the liquid. From this point, you’ll just continue adding stock, 1 ladle at a time, and stirring. You do NOT need to stand and stir constantly, but you should stir frequently, so just do some other stuff around the kitchen while you linger. The oats should take about 25 minutes to cook (taste to make sure they are tender). You should have enough stock (be sure to keep the lid on it when you’re not using it, so it doesn’t evaporate!), but if you run out before the oats are tender, just add some water.
- To finish, vigorously stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Serve in warm bowls garnished with parsley and extra cheese.