Recipe Corner: Wild Mushroom Risotto

This post was imported from my short-lived, now-defunct food blog, Cooking With Ginger.

mushroom.jpg Healthy recipes tend to taste light and clean – full of fresh herbs and strong flavours, like Elise's amazing Seared Tuna that we've been devouring every week since she posted it. Just one mouthful of dish like that makes you feel holy and virtuous. But sometimes you don't feel holy and virtuous. Sometimes the body screams out for decadence, comfort and stodge! 

Traditionally, comfort and stodge means a pound of butter and/or a pint of cream. But the best healthier recipes make the most of ingredients that add maximum richness and flavour without mega calories. This Weight Watchers mushroom risotto proved a great example – rich and creamy without actual cream or dodgy low-fat dairy. Just look at the main ingredients:

  • arborio rice – inherently creamy and starchy
  • white wine – just 150mL but it adds a bit of posh
  • dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in boiling water, both shrooms and stock adding richness
  • parmesan cheese – a scant 50g for four serves, but plenty to give creaminess

The beauty of most Weight Watchers recipes today (apart from the shitey ones with artificial sweetners) is that they cleverly reduce the amounts of the most calorific yet flavoursome ingredients, while adding bulk with low-cal or low-fat stuff like vegetables. The recipes taste a bit lighter than the Original versions, but not so "diet-y" that you feel you're being defrauded. It was nicely luxurious, with all those mushrooms making for a meaty and satisfying meal for this faux-vegetarian. 

My tiny mods to this recipe: I used bog standard cheapo button mushies but added a pack of Tesco "Mixed Exotic" mushrooms for fun. I should have written down their names, but we're basically talking all the odd-shaped weird ones. They were mighty flavoursome. I probably twice the specified quantity too, that way I got to have more in my bowl! I forgot to buy parsley so chucked in some baby spinach, which was noice. I also stirred in the parmesan in the saucepan, as opposed to sprinkling on top, so you get that nice creamy cheesiness in every bite.

Source:  How To Cook The Weight Watchers Way 
Serves:  4 

20 g dried porcini mushrooms 
150 ml boiling water
low fat cooking spray
1 onion, finely chopped 
2 garlic cloves, crushed 
350 g arborio rice 
100 ml white wine 
1.2 litres hot vegetable stock 
200 g mushrooms, sliced 
a small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped 
salt and freshly ground pepper 
50 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated, to serve 

Place the dried mushrooms in a measuring jug and add the boiling water. Soak for 25 minutes. 
Heat a large, heavy saucepan, spray with the cooking spray, and gently stir fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the rice and and stir to mix well, then add the wine. 
Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the stock, chop into small pieces. Strain the soaking water through a fine mesh sieve or piece of muslin and add to the risotto (I did not strain it: too lazy/hungry), with the reconstituted and fresh mushrooms. (I actually stir-fried fresh mushies a wee bit before I added the porcini and liquid) 
Add the vegetable stock in small quantities, cooking and stirring frequently until all of it has been absorbed. 
Check the seasoning and stir in the parsley (or spinach til wilted). 
Serve with the parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top. 

Per serve:  418 calories, or 6 WW Points 

NB:  Photo is copyright of and unceremoniously nicked from the Weight Watchers UK website, as once again I forgot to photograph before eating! Oh dear. 

UPDATE: Thanks to Pamela who cooked this recipe and pointed out there was no mention of stock! Oh dear. The ingredients list has been amended 🙂

6 thoughts on “Recipe Corner: Wild Mushroom Risotto

  1. Yum – sounds delicious. I have many WW recipe books and magazines but never actually cook any of the recipes! Shauna, you have inspired me. I’ll definitely try this risotto soon.

  2. Sounds good.

    I’ve always found the WeightWatchers soups recipes very tasty. Like you I’m a bit wary of anything with artificial sweeteners/ingredients with chemical names. But this looks good.

    I think I’d succumb to temptation and use a wee bit more parmesan though . . . I’m not as strong as all that . . .

  3. It’s funny how your tastes can change. I made a real buttery-creamy risotto for a Thanksgiving Day feast, along with some other buttery-creamy sides, and found the whole lot rather greasy. Thx for the recipe — will definitely give it a go!

  4. I think there’s something missing from this recipe! I tried it last night (and it turned out delicious, by the way), but 150 ml of water (reserved after soaking) and 100 ml of wine aren’t enough liquid to cook the rice with. Maybe there’s an amount of chicken or vegetable stock that is missing? I ended up just adding 1/2 cup of chicken stock at a time until the rice seemed cooked. BTW, this was my first time cooking in metric which was quite an experience. Also, I did it with parsley and not spinach. I think spinach would probably have been better. It was a big hit with MY SC. 🙂

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