Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




Mushroom Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms & Asparagus Tips

Prep Time:  1 hour    Cook Time:  40 min    Serves:  4

Risotto is an amazing dish.  Like all great food, properly preparing risotto requires attention and love.  You can't just walk away from risotto and come back to it later, you need to be there to develop texture and flavor.  Similarly, the mushrooms and asparagus in this recipe are given their own special treatment before bringing everything together, but this also pays off in texture and flavor.  

I only used the tops of the asparagus and sauteed them quickly over medium high heat.  Roasting the mushrooms in the oven first will help to remove excess water, so that when they are finished by sauteing in butter they crisp up and sear instead of just steaming.  Don't add the mushrooms and asparagus until the risotto is finished cooking and you have already added the cheese and butter.  If it becomes too tight, add a little more stock to develop more of a sauce.  Finish with fresh chives and shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of olive or truffle oil.

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  • 2/3 cup Arborio rice (or similar risotto rice)
  • 3 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup asparagus tips
  • 12 oz shiitake mushrooms (or hen or the woods, Porcini, oyster, morels, etc...)
  • 2 oz fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tbsp butter (divided)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil or truffle oil for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wipe the mushrooms down with a damp cloth to remove any  lose dirt.  Toss the mushrooms with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl to coat.  Spread mushrooms out on a lined sheet pan and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove once done and set aside to dry.

Slice the tops off 1 pound of asparagus to yield approximately 1 cup.  Make sure to cut the tips into appropriate sized pieces, about 1/2".  Heat  2 tbsp butter in a medium saute pan over medium high heat and add the asparagus.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss, cooking until just tender then set aside.

Return to your mushrooms.  Heat 2 tbsp butter in a medium saute pan  over medium high heat and add your mushrooms, tossing and cooking until browned.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Chop into 1/4" slices. 

Prepare shallots and garlic and heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic, cooking until the shallots become translucent and the garlic becomes aromatic.  Add the risotto rice to the pan and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.  Pour in the wine and continue stirring, letting the wine evaporate completely.  Once the wine has evaporated, begin to ladle in the chicken stock.  Continue stirring constantly as the stock evaporates and you continue to add more one ladle at a time.  It is important to stir the rice as this constant motion is what develops the starches that creates the creaminess in risotto.  Continue stirring and adding stock until the rice reaches an al dente texture (tender but still slightly firm to the bite).  Add in the cheese and finish with butter and the chopped chives.  Toss in asparagus and mushrooms, adding more stock if the rice becomes too tight and needs more sauce.  Plate and garnish with a drizzle of olive or truffle oil.