Rachael Ray Mashed Up Two of Our Favorite Comfort Foods in This French Onion Risotto Recipe
As a follow up to her uber-cozy French Onion Soup Mac and Cheese, Rachael Ray is back with a recipe that looks so incredible, one fan sounds almost mad about it: "Omg. OMG! You can do this? This just put French onion soup on a whole new level. Like no restaurant soup is going to compare to this. Not even close."
No need to be mad, we say. Instead, get cooking, like another Rachael Ray Show viewer, who saw the how-to demo on last Friday's show then stepped into her kitchen. "Made it this weekend and my daughter and I love it so much!!😍😍😍😍😍" (Extra heart-eye emojis added for emphasis, which we feel is appropriate based on the looks of this ridiculously luscious risotto recipe.)
Ray's French Onion and Porcini Risotto "incorporates the flavors of a French classic everyone loves—and is gluten-free," she says. "We're going to make sugary-sweet caramelized onions, so we're going to cook them slowly and we can't let them brown, so we have to let them take their time. This whole meal will take about an hour—just so you know, so you can pick and choose what day you want to make it—but it's worth it."
Ray walks through exactly how we can follow her lead on the episode. Start by melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add 4 large chopped onions, salt, white pepper, ground thyme, ground sage and a fresh bay leaf. As you allow the onions to caramelize in pot #1, bring 2 cups of water to a low boil in pot #2, reduce the heat then plump up 1 cup of dried porcini mushrooms (like Vigorous Mountains Dried Porcini Mushrooms; $14.99 for 3 ounces, Amazon).
Once the onions reach a "sweet, sugary, literally caramel-y color," Ray explains, "add a dab of sherry," or about ¼ cup of dry sherry (aka one type of fortified wine). Stir the onion-wine blend thoroughly, remove the bay leaf, then remove the caramelized onion mixture from pot #1.
In that same pot, add a drizzle of Ray's signature EVOO (such as Olio Santo California Extra Virgin Olive Oil; $20 for 16.9 ounces, Amazon) and toast 1½ cups of Arborio rice in the oniony dripping goodness and the oil for 2 minutes, stirring throughout. Season with salt and pepper, add 1 whole bulb of roasted garlic and 1 cup of white wine.
"Once the wine absorbs, we add just a couple of ladles with each addition," Ray says, referring to 6 cups of beef broth she has over medium heat in pot #3. "Get your shoulder into it, but gently, firmly stir the rice to develop the starch." (P.S. You could totally use mushroom or vegetable stock instead of beef bone broth here if you want to keep this dish vegetarian.)
Remove the reconstituted porcini mushrooms from pot #2, chop them up and add 'em now, Ray says. "That gives us an extra layer of flavor...You don't have to do that; it's not a necessary thing," she advises, so feel free to skip the 'shrooms if you prefer or don't have any on-hand at the moment.
Add broth, stir constantly, allow the liquid to absorb. Repeat. And again. Until you've made your way through all of the liquid. "From the time you add the broth, the rice will take 18 minutes," Ray explains in the recipe. At that point, you should have perfect risotto. "It should be pourable, creamy-looking," she says.
Then stir in the reserved caramelized onion blend, a handful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, then it's time to give this risotto one final French onion soup-inspired treatment: Pour single servings into oven-safe ramekins or soup bowls (such as these French Onion Soup Crocks; $39.95 for four 18-ounce bowls), "cap it with shredded Gruyere or Gouda, then we melt it," Ray says, by placing the bowls on a sheet pan under the broiler. Garnish with fresh parsley and thyme and serve.
We imagine at this point we'd want to backstroke through this dish...if we could fit and if it wasn't quite so hot. Instead, we plan to dive in with a spoon. If you, too, think this sounds wildly cozy, get the French Onion and Porcini Risotto recipe here and join us by pairing this with a big green salad (#balance) for dinner tonight.