Tuscany is a province of Italy famous for its role in the renaissance era. All that region is known for its art, its culture, historical centers, and of course, its gastronomy.
Any Tuscan restaurant can proudly show a menu plenty of delicious dishes with unique flavors that go very well with local wines. Imagine delighting yourself with a Pappa al Pomodoro or a Ribollita in La Piazza Della Signoria accompanied by a good Chianti wine, a Parpadelle, or an authentic Risotto. Provocative, isn’t it?
Although we are far away from Italy, today we bring you a recipe with Tuscan flavor, a Risotto with mushrooms and Parmesan cheese that will make your senses fly with just one bite. You will have at home a dish that will make you feel like being in Italy, and that you can accompany with a glass of good white wine to reach the climax on your palate.
Why is rice so popular in the Mediterranean diet?
Rice is a cereal of Asian origin that was introduced in Europe during the Middle Ages. Some European countries have rice crops throughout their territory, and in Italy, Arborio is the most known and used rice type.
Rice is the second most-consumed cereal after wheat, and this food is part of the diet of many Mediterranean countries due to its nutritional qualities.
It is a food with sources of carbohydrates, which provide energy to the human body and help in the functioning of the brain. Its high content of minerals such as calcium, iron, vitamin D, riboflavin, and thiamine make it an essential food for human nutrition. Its low levels of saturated fats and cholesterol make it more favorable to the body and its contribution to fiber is important. Finally, it is perfect for people with gastrointestinal diseases.
Tuscan Wild Mushroom Risotto
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
- 1 finely chopped onion.
- 2 chopped garlic cloves.
- 1½ pounds of mushrooms (Cremini or Porcini mushrooms work great).
- 1 cup of Arborio rice.
- 4 cups of low sodium vegetable stock and water mix
- 1 tsp. of salt.
- ½ tsp. of pepper.
- ¼ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (for grating).
- 2 tbsp. of fresh parsley.
How to prepare
- Add olive oil into a saucepan and heat.
- In a pot, heat water to boiling and add vegetable stock. Keep at a warm temperature.
- Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, salt, and pepper into the saucepan. Sauté over medium-low heat for 6 minutes or until mushrooms are soft.
- Pour the rice into the saucepan and cook for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, add ¾ cup of the vegetable broth to the rice mixture with the vegetables.
- Cook the rice in the broth until the rice absorbs all the broth or the rice is dry. Once the rice is dry, repeat the same step adding another ¾ cup of the broth until the rice is soft but a little bit crunchy.
- In case the rice is still not soft enough, add more vegetable broth and repeat the step.
- Once the rice is soft and cooked, sprinkle some of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and stir. Serve on a plate and sprinkle more cheese on top. Don’t forget to add the freshly chopped parsley on top.
Some delicious ingredients you can use to spice up the Tuscan Risotto are chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil.
Tuscan cuisine and rice: a rich menu for your liking.
Besides this recipe, there are different ways in how you can prepare typical Risotto from this province. Some of these include meats or fish, others include more vegetables, and each of them will vary its ingredients according to the time of the year. Some examples of these are:
- Risotto with greens: if you are a vegetarian, you love this dish. Risotto with greens includes arugula, spinach, broccoli, and dandelions. This meal is usually eaten during the spring when the leaves of the edible plants are fresh.
- Risotto al Vino Rosso: another signature dish of the Tuscan cuisine is Risotto dipped in red wine. The wine gives a reddish color to the rice and it’s usually accompanied by meat such as pheasants, guinea fowl, rabbit, venison, or wild boar. It is usually eaten during the hunting season and the combination of red wine with the meat gives it an exquisite and unparalleled flavor.