Portabellos, Asparagus, and Risotto with a Balsamic Reduction Sauce

I’m really excited to share this recipe with you tonight.  So excited I can hardly type fast enough to get it down on the page.  Since summer began I have been taking a break from cooking full meals (read: back at home for the summer in between school terms and loving my mom’s cooking).  Today, however, I had a full day with nothing planned and it felt like a good day to try something new.  During the school year I rarely have more than an hour to cook a meal, so as I had the whole night ahead of me, I decided to be a bit more adventurous.  Like most of my cooking adventures, I started with a basic idea and expanded from there.

Here’s a bit of a peak into my thought process for tonight’s meal:

Vegetarian –>Rice –> Rice and asparagus –> Risotto and asparagus –> Mushroom risotto –> Mushroom + asparagus risotto –> Portabello mushroom bowl with risotto and topped with asparagus and a reduction sauce

I’ve only made risotto once before, so I wanted a detailed recipe to follow so I would get it right the first time!  Risotto is definitely one of those foods that requires your full, undivided attention, love, and care.  Following a basic risotto recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website, the risotto was a success!  His directions are really detailed, and I especially like the way he describes what the risotto should look and sound like at certain times during the cooking process.

Here are the changes I made to the recipe:
– took out the celery and butter
– used a tsp of bottled garlic instead of cloves
– 1/2 a cup of white wine (I used Chardonnay)
– skipped the Parmesan cheese

My advice for this meal would be to have everything poured, sliced, diced, and measured before you begin.  I was lucky enough to have help while I was cooking, and I definitely needed it!  Once the rice starts cooking you can’t leave it for more than a second, or it sticks to the pan, so having everything ready would have been a very good idea, especially if you’re cooking solo.  I tend to plunge right into recipes, but if I were to make this again I’d do things in a different order.

Ingredients (serves 6)
400g of risotto rice
6 portabello mushroom per serving
15 stalks of asparagus
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic or 1 tsp bottled garlic
1 litre vegetable broth
3 tbsp olive oil + some for brushing the mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine


1. Clean and de-stem the mushrooms and asparagus (discard the bottom couple inches of the asparagus stems as they’ll be stringy)

2. Scoop out the top layer of the mushrooms so there is more room for the stuffing and lightly brush with olive oil (or butter if not dairy-free).  Place in an oven-safe dish

3. Cut the asparagus into small chunks, leaving about 2 inches for the heads.  Place all asparagus pieces in an oven-safe dish with a bit of water

4. Dice your onion

5.  Pour the vegetable broth into a large saucepan and place on low heat on the stoveIMG_4907

6.  Begin the balsamic reduction sauce

7.  Measure out the risotto and wine

8.  Preheat your oven to 475 degrees

9. Follow the risotto recipe
*at step 3, put the asparagus and mushrooms into the oven
*check the balsamic reduction sauce now, too!

10.  Cook asparagus and mushrooms for 20 minutes or until tender, flipping the mushrooms halfway through

It sounds complicated, but really it’s just about having everything ready to go -and use a timer if you’re forgetful like me!IMG_4914

11.  Layer the meal starting with the mushroom as a bowl, add asparagus chunks, then a couple scoops of rice (I used an icecream scoop), and finish with a couple of asparagus heads and a drizzle of the balsamic sauce.

The flavours in this recipe really compliment each other, and the sauce is an extra burst of taste.  Can you tell I’m in love with this meal?


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