Cook the Book: Rice Cooker Mushroom Risotto

Cook the Book: Rice Cooker Mushroom Risotto

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

It's probably best to start off the introduction for this Mushroom Risotto recipe from Roger Ebert's The Pot and How to Use It by saying that there are no short cuts when to comes to making risotto. But if time is an issue and a dish of savory, creamy, mushroom studded rice is what you're after then the rice cooker can certainly make a passable approximation.

The ingredients for this recipe are almost identical to the classic version, down to the preheated stock, and as far as Ebert's rice cooker recipes go, this one is fairly hands-on. The process begins with sweating onions and garlic, toasting Arborio rice, and adding white wine to moisten and cook off some of the alcohol. At this point the mixture is placed in the rice cooker with heated chicken stock and left to cook until the timer goes off, and then for an additional 10 minutes so the rice has a chance to break down a little further. While the rice finishes cooking the mushrooms are sautéed in a combination of butter and olive oil, added to the rice, and finished with Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.

Straight out of the cooker is the best way to enjoy this faux risotto since the longer it has a chance to sit and cool the more moisture it loses, sacrificing texture. I suppose the moral of the rice cooker risotto story is that there is no substitute for standing and stirring the pot, but there is something to be said for slow cooked rice with earthy chunks of mushroom and plenty of butter, no matter how they are cooked.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Pot and How to Use It to give away this week.

Adapted from The Pot and How to Use It by Roger Ebert. Copyright © 2010. Published by Andrews McMeel. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock, hot
  • 6 ounces Potobella mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1.

    In a large frying pan, heat half the oil and butter; add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is tender. Add the rice and stir through to coat the rice with the onion mixture.

  2. 2.

    Add the wine and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer the mixture to the rice cooker cooking pan. Add the hot chicken stock and stir through. Making sure that the exterior of the pan is dry, place in the heating vessel.

  3. 3.

    Replace the lid.

  4. 4.

    Depress the automatic control lever to Cook.

  5. 5.

    When the cooking is complete, the lever will automatically switch to the Keep Warm mode. Leave the rice in the cooker for 10 minutes at this stage. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID.

  6. 6.

    Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan, add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender; drain any excess liquid.

  7. 7.

    After the rice has been in the Keep Warm mode for 10 minutes, open the lid. Stir in the mushrooms, Parmesan, and parsley. Season to taste with black pepper.

  8. 8.

    Serve immediately.