By Shannon Keirnan
Once in a while, I'm required to cook to impress a houseguest... or maybe I'm just in the mood for a really good "fancy" meal that I can throw together while I'm watching Netflix. I'm really not especially fancy or creative when it comes to meals, so I work with what I've got and what I know I love, and generally try to keep it as simple as possible. No matter who is coming over.
One of my favorites is stuffed steak and mushroom risotto, which go great together, and with about anything else. Anyone sitting down to "stuffed steak and mushroom risotto" feels like they're being treated extra special, yet, at the core this is just simple and delicious comfort food, and it won't draw my attention away from old seasons of "30 Rock" while I'm preparing it.
Mushroom Risotto Ingredients
1 cup organic arborio rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup mushrooms of choice (I mix baby portobellos and porcini), chopped fine.
1 handful fresh sweet basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. olive oil or butter (plus extra for blending)
1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil
Brown the rice, onions, and garlic in the oil or butter (about 5 minutes).
Add in the chicken broth and white wine 1 cup at a time, allowing the risotto to absorb before adding more.
While the rice is cooking, in a separate pan, heat the coconut oil. Add in the mushrooms, and allow to cook until the mushrooms are browned and soft.
Using a food processor, blend the cooked mushrooms with the fresh basil, cream, salt, and pepper. Add olive oil as needed to keep the consistency smooth, and remember that hot ingredients expand while blending, so only add small amounts at a time.
Mix the blended mushrooms into the risotto, let mingle for 5-10 minutes, and top with grated parmesan (and butter, if you like butter as much as I do) to serve.
Stuffed Steak (Recipe for 2)
Defrosted or fresh grass-fed steak cut of choice (I prefer ribeye, personally)
2 Tbsp. ricotta cheese
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2-4 shallots, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Optional rosemary sprig
2 pats butter
Stuffed Steak Instructions:
In a small pan, add the baby spinach, garlic, and shallots, and let cook on medium until the baby spinach is reduced and the shallots transparent, stirring occasionally.
While that is cooking, carefully cut a pocket into each steak. Salt generously on each side, and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
When the spinach, shallots, and garlic are done, add a good sprinkle of pepper, and combine with the ricotta cheese. If I have any available, I sometimes add a pinch of another stronger cheese, like asiago, or just a little bit of extra parmesan.
Spoon the ingredients into the steak pockets, and place under the broiler with butter and rosemary.
Broil to desired level, turning once and remembering that the meat has been halved and will cook quickly.
Voila! I added a good salad and some redskin mashed potatoes this time around, and had myself an excellent meal that garnered me plenty of compliments - the only things I love more than binge-watching "30 Rock."