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A quick dinner that will make you feel like a star

Come Oscar night, chances are good that the only red carpet you're likely to see is shag.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Come Oscar night, chances are good that the only red carpet you're likely to see is shag.

But that doesn't mean you can't easily whip up a dinner that leaves you feeling like you've had star treatment. My trick? Making sure a bit of bubbly is involved at every step of the process — beginning to end.

So I created this simple, but richly decadent risotto studded with thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms and strips of smoked salmon. A generous amount of sparkling wine added throughout the cooking process — as well as a generous application of it to the cook — ensures the experience is Oscar-worthy.

Don't like bubbles? You can always substitute a dry riesling. Don't care for smoked salmon? Substitute small shrimp (and cook for an extra 3 to 5 minutes, or until just pink and firm).



Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

2 tablespoons butter

1 large yellow onion, diced

5 ounces shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

2 1/4 cups dry sparkling wine, divided

3 cups chicken stock or broth, warmed to a simmer

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4-ounce package smoked salmon, cut into thin strips

In a medium skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the onion and shiitakes and saute for 4 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until completely absorbed.

Add half of the chicken stock or broth, stir several times, then let simmer until the liquid is nearly completely absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time and stirring constantly until absorbed between each addition.

When all of the stock has been added and absorbed, add another cup of sparkling wine. Stir until absorbed. The rice should be tender, but still just barely firm at the center. Stir in the cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add the cheese and mix until melted and creamy. Adjust seasonings.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the salmon and the remaining 1/4 cup of sparkling wine. Serve immediately (with more sparkling wine, of course).

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 670 calories; 160 calories from fat (24 percent of total calories); 18 g fat (9 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 76 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 5 g fiber; 1,230 mg sodium.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at or email him at jhirsch(at)