Mushroom Risotto from The Greek Diet

When some of us think of comfort food, a creamy, piping hot bowl of risotto is one of the first things that comes to mind. Today we are showing you the Greek version: Kritharaki Me Manitaria, or Mushroom Risotto, from The Greek Diet by Maria Loi and Sarah Toland. Many people see risotto as a luxury food that is too difficult to prepare at home. But Maria Loi’s recipe makes this dish tasty, healthy, and — best of all — easy!  This Mushroom Risotto is layered with subtle flavors including cinnamon, red wine, pecorino cheese, and basil, and uses completely unprocessed ingredients, making it a delicious, hearty, and healthful meal to serve to your family and friends.

Structured around the 12 Pillar Foods of the traditional Greek diet, The Greek Diet provides 100 healthy, authentic Greek recipes for you to enjoy. The Greek Diet comes out on October 7. Pre-order your copy today from your favorite retailer.

Kritharaki Me Manitaria (Mushroom Risotto)Kritharaki Me Manitaria (Mushroom Risotto):
Serves 8 to 10

1 onion, very finely chopped (by hand or in the food processor)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated tomato (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds white button mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
About 2 cups vegetable stock or water
One 1-pound package Loi Kritharaki Orzo Pasta (or other whole-grain pasta)
Freshly grated pecorino cheese, for garnish
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the onion until golden and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes, sprinkling it lightly with salt as it cooks. Add the tomato and garlic and continue to cook until well combined.
2. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. The liquid they release as they cook will be used later to coat the pasta. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
3. Pour in the wine and add 2 cups of stock. Continue to cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by one-third. There should be enough liquid in the skillet to comfortably hold all the orzo, about 1 cup. If not, add a little extra water or stock as needed.
4. Preheat a small sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, until it turns golden brown and develops a nutty aroma, less than 5 minutes.
5. Carefully add the orzo to the skillet with the mushroom mixture and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, about 5 to 10 minutes. If the orzo has absorbed all of the liquid but isn’t quite done, add another ¼ or 1/2 cup of stock to the skillet. Taste the sauce, and add salt and pepper as needed.
6. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. To serve, ladle the pasta into large bowls, sprinkle with pecorino and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

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