Sunday, January 29, 2017

Princess Carolyn's "Save The Day" Mushroom Risotto

Recently-Hired-Waitress: "[The food critic] still wants her mushroom risotto."
Recently-Promoted-Chef: "I don't know how to make risotto."
Princess Carolyn: "I know how."
- "Best Thing That Ever Happened," BoJack Horseman

Eat like a Hollywoo food critic with this acorn squash and portobello mushroom risotto
It's #Nyanuary over at Fandom Foodies so I thought I would celebrate with the fictional anthropomorphic cat I perhaps identify with the most, Princess Carolyn from BoJack Horseman. (I also give myself "you are now a robot" pep-talks!)

In the Season 3 episode of BoJack Horseman, "Best Thing That Ever Happened," Bojack's dysfunctional professional/romantic hybrid relationship with Princess Caroyln finally comes to critical breaking point. This dynamic is mirrored by the crumbling of BoJack's restaurant, Elefante, the setting for this bottle episode.

BoJack accuses Princess Carolyn of enjoying putting out his fires and saving the day. Despite her intuition, Princess Carolyn again "saves the day," preparing a mushroom risotto for the food critic dining at BoJack's restaurant that ill-fated night.

PC knows her risotto technique. Interestingly, this isn't the first recipe I've done with a big focus on stirring!

Princess Carolyn's take on the mushroom risotto has brown chunks, leafy green pieces and yellow cubes. For the mushroom - the brown chunks, I presume - I went with portobello mushroom. I paired this with acorn squash, both because this squash goes well with portobello and has the desired golden hue. I rounded out the flavors with lemon, thyme, leek and shallot. This dish would make a great vegetarian side - except that I paid homage to Princess Carolyn's fondness for fish by simmering the lot in fish stock instead of vegetable stock.

Close-up of Princess Carolyn's mushroom risotto

The mushroom and acorn square can be prepared ahead of time - convenient for a busy kitchen like Elefante restaurant's! The miso-based marinade (inspired by this recipe) makes the portobello mushrooms the star of this dish. The mushrooms gush with a tangy savoriness when you bite into them. This is complemented by the earthy sweetness of the acorn squash, which is prepared my favorite way: roasted! The risotto is cooked traditionally, with regular stirring to bring out the starch molecules that lend that creamy consistency to the dish. It all comes together in a dish sure to impressed an ill-timed "Hollywoo" food critic.


Serves 4.

For the mushroom:

  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp each black pepper and salt
  • 3 large portobello mushrooms (or a similar volume of brown button mushrooms)

For the acorn squash:

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the rest:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 leek, pale portion quartered lengthwise then sliced finely
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup carnaroli rice
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, plus the zest of one lemon
  • 4-5 cups fish stock (or chicken stock, or vegetable stock)
  • 1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp parsley, chopped (optional, just a garnish)


  1. Prepare the mushroom marinade: Whisk together miso paste, molasses, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, lemon juice, pepper and salt. 
  2. Prepare the portobello mushrooms: Wipe the exterior of the mushrooms clean and break off the stems. Using a spoon, scrape the gills from the underside of the mushrooms. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Toss the mushroom pieces in the marinade, cover and let stand for 1 hour, or overnight in the fridge.
  3. Roast the acorn squash: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover a cookie sheet in parchment paper. Clean the outside of the squash, then slice in half through the stem. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and stringy pieces. Slice the squash into 1.5-inch wedges. Mix together the oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Brush liberally over each wedge, laying them onto the cookie sheet with at least an inch in between each wedge. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly, then use a butter knife to separate the rind from the flesh. Slice the wedges into 1-inch pieces.
  4. Meanwhile, fry mushrooms: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brush the pan with the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Working in two batches, sear each side of the mushroom, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  5. Prepare rice: Heat the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and leek and sauté until soft but not golden. Add in the rice and garlic, and continue to sauté until the rice grains begin to become translucent. Add in a half cup of stock and the thyme, stirring the rice regularly. When the liquid is almost completely absorbed, add in another cup of stock. Continue until the rice is nearly completely soft (you still want a little bite). Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, Parmesan, squash and mushroom. Top with parsley.
Plate the risotto with balsamic reduction and a few acorn squash wedges.

No comments:

Post a Comment