A extra nutritious spin on the traditional risotto, buckwheat risotto makes for a hearty and healthy dish.
Why use buckwheat in a risotto? Well, not only is it gluten-free just like rice, buckwheat is superior in nutrition to rice, especially white rice. Yes, it has a misleading name that, understandably, can cause confusion. Buckwheat is actually not wheat, nor is it related to wheat. It is not even a grain, or a cereal. It’s actually derived from the seeds of a flowering plant. Who knew? Roasted groats that are cooked with broth have a similar texture to rice or bulgur and in a risotto, they retain their texture and yet release just enough starch to make a nice creamy risotto.
Together with a medley of mushrooms, buckwheat risotto has a lovely robust and unique earthly flavor. I love a mix of mushrooms, such as king trumpet, shiitake and crimini. Each of which have their own unique flavor and texture:
King trumpet mushrooms have a wonderful nutty flavor, a firm texture and are wonderfully versatile. You can eat the crown and the stem.
Shiitakes have an aromatic, woodsy flavor and chewy texture. If the stems are woody, then they should be trimmed before cooking – but hang on to them, they can be used for making a nice homemade stock.
Crimini mushrooms, also referred to as “brown” mushrooms, have a similar appearance to white button mushrooms and can be used in exactly the same way. The main differences are that they have a deeper, earthier flavor and a denser texture.
3 tablespoons butter, divided
500 g mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used a combination of king trumpet, shiitake and crimini)
pinch of sea salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 cup buckwheat groats (200 g)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (360 ml)
2 cups warmed vegetable broth (480 ml)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing
parsley for garnish
sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms, a pinch of sea salt, and toss to coat in the butter.
2. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. In the same pan, add the remaining butter and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes until softened. Add the buckwheat groats. Toss and until the buckwheat is slightly toasted; about 2 minutes.
4. Add the wine, stir and let cook until it’s half absorbed. Then add ½ cup ( 120 ml) of the heated vegetable broth. Allow to simmer until the liquid is almost absorbed, then an additional ½ cup broth and simmer until absorbed, repeating this process until you have added all the broth. At this point, the buckwheat should be tender and almost all of the liquid absorbed.
5. Turn off the heat, add the mushrooms and parmesan to the pot and stir to combine.
6. Garnish with parsley and a little extra parmesan.