We’ve had an unseasonably cold winter here in California, and I’ve been loving it. I know sweaters, cozy scarves and boots generally get associated with fall, but not in California. We’re generally still wearing shorts through October and November due to our year round perfect weather. So when Pinterest is screaming cute fall outfits, we’re still winding down our summer wardrobes.
This year, however, El Nino has proved to be giving us some good rain, cool days, and cold nights only solved by warm cozy nights sitting by the fire. This baked mushroom risotto is pretty easy to whip up, it’s hearty and delicious, and will keep everyone at the table satisfied (even my three year old).
One of my favorite things in life are caramelized onions! They just taste so dang good! They really aren’t hard to make if you give them a little time, and they’ll transform any dish into something delicious. I will often whip them up in huge batches (like 8-10 onions at a time) in order to sprinkle on foods, use in my eggs in the morning, or just have on hand for salads.
My mom recently introduced me to the fact that you can caramelize onions in the crock pot in huge batches too. That would make a perfect way to get this recipe done even faster, just precook your onions in the crockpot, get the rice in the oven, and enjoy a glass of wine while waiting for dinner to be done. Or if you’re nights are like mine, chase your kiddo around playing hide and seek while simultaneously setting the table and finishing the last of your work emails. But at least you won’t be slaving over a hot stove too long for this one. And you can always dream about the wine.
- 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- 5 yellow onions, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry sherry (or white wine, but not cooking sherry)
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Mascarpone for garnish
- Heat the oven to 300°F.
- Chop one of the onions. In a dutch oven (I use my cast iron dutch oven) or oven proof pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and place the chopped onion over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and soft. Turn the heat up to medium high, add all the sliced cremini mushrooms and let them cook for 5 minutes without disturbing. Stir the mushrooms and add the rosemary. Continue cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add the arborio rice and cook while continuing to stir about five minutes or until rice becomes transparent and slightly toasted on the edges.
- Turn the heat to high and add the sherry, balsamic vinegar, and broth. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze while adding the liquid and continue stirring until combined. Stir in the salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil. Cover the pan with a lid and put it in the oven to bake for 35 minutes.
- While the rice is baking, make the caramelized onions. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet. Cut the remaining four onions in thin slices. Add them to the oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions turn a dark caramel brown. Let them go as long as you can without burning, approximately 30 minutes.
- When the risotto has finished baking, spoon into individual bowls and top each bowl with a spoonful of caramelized onions, a little extra pepper, and a scoop of mascarpone.