We love the complex depth of flavor chicken livers lend (think dirty rice), but feel free to leave them out. Remember, the key to a creamy risotto is to stir, stir, stir. All that action releases the rice's natural starches, which make the sauce thick and velvety.
9 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 (8-oz.) packages fresh cremini mushrooms
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 ounces chicken livers or gizzards
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 celery ribs, minced
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio (short grain) rice
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
How to Make It
Bring broth to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, remove stems from mushrooms. Add thyme sprigs, mushroom stems, and half of parsley to broth. Reduce heat to low; gently simmer until ready to use. Remove leaves from remaining parsley, and coarsely chop. Discard parsley stems.
Sauté livers in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat 5 minutes or until cooked. Remove livers, and finely chop. Add 4 Tbsp. butter and mushroom caps to Dutch oven, and sauté 10 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from Dutch oven using a slotted spoon. Add onion, and sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Add celery, and sauté 5 minutes or until softened.
Add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in wine, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Add 1 cup hot broth mixture (discarding mushroom stems and herb sprigs), and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat procedure with remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, until liquid is absorbed. (Total cooking time is 30 to 35 minutes.) Remove from heat.
Stir in livers, mushroom caps, cheese, chopped thyme, chopped parsley, remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy, East Memphis, TN
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