Risotto is one of those dishes I rarely make because I don’t care to stand over a hot stove for 45 minutes stirring a stock pot. It is, however, probably my favorite way to eat rice. I love how creamy the texture is and how the flavors meld together in my mouth.
The other day, while visiting my dad and stepmom, Nan, in Florida, Nan and I got to talking about risotto. I knew she really liked it. More often than not, if risotto is offered on a menu, she will get whatever dish the risotto is featured with. When she found out I liked it to, she got excited. Apparently there was a recipe she had been wanting to try for a while and hadn’t gotten around to it. When asked what the recipe was, she proclaimed, “crock pot risotto!”
She threw together the easy recipe quickly and let it bubble away in the crock pot for a few hours. Dad grilled up some devilishly delicious filets that night as well. Steaks, risotto, and salad. What a perfect meal! It was probably one of my favorite meals of the whole trip.
After we returned home, I took an hour and organized our pantry. One of the items that has been staring at me in our pantry for a looooooong time now was Arborio rice. It took me about 2.5 seconds to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it. I googled slow cooker risotto and found a recipe that sounded pretty close to the one Nan made. Then of course I added it to Pinterest. (Does anyone else love that website as much as I do??)
You know what one of my favorite things about risotto is? I typically have everything I need on hand!
Crock Pot Risotto
(adapted from this recipe)
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup dry white wine (like Chardonnay)
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
3 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp butter
8 oz mushrooms (whatever variety you like) roughly chopped
3 tbsp half & half
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in 3 tbsp of the olive oil until softened. Add 1/4 cup of wine. Cook onions and wine for a minute or two so the onion has a little time to absorb the wine. Add the rice and stir to evenly coat the rice in the wine mixture.
One thing I didn’t do that I wished I had was season this step. I would add a pinch or two of salt (use your judgement) and maybe a bit of pepper. I added salt and pepper at the end, but I think adding salt before slow cooking the dish would enhance the flavor much better.
Add rice to the slow cooker and return the pan, unwashed to the stove. Add the chicken broth to the slow cooker as well and turn your slow cooker on high. Cook rice mixture for 1.5 to 2.5 hours or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice appears thick and rich.
Meanwhile, while your rice is cooking, prepare your mushrooms. In the same pan we cooked the onions, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter. Saute your mushrooms until they get nice and soft. Add the other 1/4 cup of wine and, as with the onions, let the wine absorb into the mushrooms a little. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and set aside.
When your risotto is completely cooked, add the half & half, mushrooms, and Parmesan. Check the salt and pepper one final time and serve.
To accompany the risotto, I also made Asian Style Hawaiian Luau chicken. Yes, it’s a seasoning from McCormick Grill Mates, but honestly it was so yummy! I followed the recipe for the “Asian marinade” and let the chicken soak the entire time the risotto was cooking. Then I grilled the chicken to perfection. It was an insanely delicious dinner. You really should try this one. It made me feel like I was back on vacation again!