Start to finish: 15 minutes preparation, plus 2 hours unattended in slow cooker (see Cook’s note)
Yield: 6 servings
• 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
•1/2 cup finely chopped onion
• 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay, divided use
•1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
• 3 3/4 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
•2 tablespoons butter
• 8 ounces mixed gourmet mushrooms, sliced (see cook’s note)
• 3 tablespoons half-and-half salt and pepper, to taste
• Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional garnish
Cook’s note: For testing purposes, we used two 4-ounce packages of mixed sliced gourmet mushrooms containing baby bells, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Any combination of hearty mushrooms will work.
If you have a medium to large round slow cooker, cook the rice for 2 to 21/2 hours, until tender and still moist but not soupy. If you have large oval one, cook the rice for 13/4 to 2 hours, until tender and moist but not soupy.
In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until just soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add rice, and stir and cook until it begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Scrape rice and onion mixture into slow cooker. (Set skillet aside and do not wash.) Turn slow cooker to high, and add broth. Cover and cook on high until tender and moist but not soupy, about 13/4 hours to 21/2 hours.
Meanwhile, using the same skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil and butter together over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release their liquid, about 4 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup wine, stir and cook another minute or two to allow some of the wine to evaporate. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before placing the mushrooms in a microwave-safe bowl; cover and refrigerate. Just before rice is done, remove mushrooms from refrigerator and microwave, uncovered on high, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Uncover the risotto, and stir in the half-and-half and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topped with the heated mushrooms and Parmesan, if desired.
Approximate values per serving: 305 calories (41 percent from fat), 14 g fat (4 g saturated), 13 mg cholesterol, 7 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 382 mg sodium
Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of “Desperation Dinners!” (Workman, 1997), “Desperation Entertaining!” (Workman, 2002) and “Cheap. Fast. Good!” (Workman, 2006). http://www.desperationdinners.com