Make-ahead Monday: 1 hearty mushroom risotto, 3 veggie meals

Chef Scott Conant makes it easy to transform one hearty mushroom risotto into multiple Italian recipes.
by Donna Freydkin / / Source: TODAY

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During a long work week, free time is pretty rare. So who has hours to spend in the kitchen?

That's why restaurateur, cookbook author and chef Scott Conant is here for our make-ahead Monday series to show how you to make a classic Italian dish, mushroom risotto, and then turn it into two additional meals that are bursting with flavor.

Risotto is an Italian rice dish that's slowly cooked in broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. For best results, you must use arborio rice, which is a short-grain variety that has plenty of starch which helps thicken the final dish.

"It's much easier than it seems. And it's a great way to utilize leftovers. It’s also easy to turn into multiple dishes," said Conant.

So what's the real secret to these irresistible, umami-packed dishes? Dried porcini mushrooms, which have an incredibly rich, nutty and deeply satisfying taste.

The single biggest mistake home cooks make? "They don't heat the broth enough and they don't stir enough. Or use the right amount of olive oil," said Conant.

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

Scott Conant

To whip up a winning risotto, make sure the dish is always well-seasoned. So let your taste buds fly free!

Crispy Risotto Cakes

Your risotto will go a long way thanks to these delicious crispy cakes, which are ready in minutes.

Arancini

Arancini

Scott Conant

The secret to these stuffed rice balls? Make sure your bread crumbs are finely ground in a food processor.

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