Porcini Risotto with Grilled Chicken Thighs and Asparagus

I’ve been busy the last several weeks with work. It’s been keeping me out of the kitchen. Tonight, however, things slowed down enough where I felt like getting back into the kitchen and doing a bit of cooking. When I get super busy, my body instantly craves carbs. Maybe it’s the idea that carbs equal comfort. And of all the carbs, rice is my go-to comfort food. Yes, even more than french fries.

I decided that I’d make a risotto. With mushrooms. And not just any mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms. Sadly, when I went to Whole Paycheck today, there were no fresh porcinis. There were some dried porcinis so I got those instead. I also swung by the meat section and grabbed some boneless chicken thighs. I was going to simply put some of my favorite chicken rub on the thighs, let them marinate while I made the risotto and then I’d throw them on my Weber charcoal grill with some asparagus. I needed to get some rice for the risotto. I swung by the rice aisle and contemplated between Carnaroli, Arborio or Vialone Nano. These are the three main types of rice used for risottos. I grabbed a box of Vialone Nano and headed to the register.

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Risotto takes around an hour to prepare, but it’s worth the constant stirring. If you’ve got someone else in the house to help you, get them to grill up some chicken thighs while you prepare the risotto.  

This was my second time making risotto and I think it turned out rather well. The rice wasn’t overly gloomy nor was it dry. I rehydrated the porcinis in the chicken stock while it warmed in a pot so as to infuse the stock with the porcini flavor. Next time, I’ll be straining the stock through a coffee filter so that any grains from the dried mushrooms don’t make it into the risotto.

I used a combination of Mario Batali and Jamie Oliver recipes when I made my risotto dish, so credit goes to them for helping me make this recipe.

Porcini Risotto
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Cook time
Total time
Risotto with porcini mushrooms, served with grilled chicken thighs and asparagus
Recipe type: Italian
Cuisine: Dinner
Serves: 4
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 cups Vialone Nano or Arborio rice
  • 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • ½ cups dry white wine
  • 3½ cups chicken stock, hot
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup parmigiano-reggiano
  • salt and pepper
  • dried thyme and dried oregano if desired
  1. Finely dice the onion and celery and set aside.
  2. Put the chicken stock into a small sauce pan and heat over medium low heat. Add the porcini mushrooms to the stock to rehydrate and infuse with mushroom flavor.
  3. In a 12 to 14-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft and translucent, but be watching so that it does not start to brown. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Add the rice to the pan and stir until the rice is lightly toasted and opaque, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the ½ cup of wine to the rice, and then add a ladleful of stock and mushrooms. (I recommend you pass the stock through a coffee filter to catch any granules from the dried mushrooms to prevent any grit from making it into the risotto). Stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock one ladleful at a time, making sure that the liquid is absorbed by the rice before adding more.
  5. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, and just a little al dente, approximately 15 minutes. Finish the risotto by stirring in the butter and cheese until incorporated.
  6. Serve the risotto with grilled chicken thighs and asparagus if desired.


Applewood Smoked Chicken Breast

DSC_0614I’ve already posted about my Traeger smoker before. I’ve already talked about the magic it imparts to anything that is cooked on it. Well, here’s more proof. Tonight, as I have done many times before, I made grilled chicken breasts. And pretty much every time, they turn out delicious. Even that one time when I burned them. Even if you don’t have a smoker, you can do these on a grill or in an oven. Total cooking time is just over 30 minutes, but the results are outstanding.

Applewood Smoked Chicken Breast
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Bone-on chicken breasts smoked with applewood pellets
Recipe type: BBQ, chicken, smoked
Cuisine: BBQ
Serves: 2
  • 2 Bone-on Chicken Breasts (with the skin)
  • Olive Oil
  • Your favorite chicken rub
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce
  1. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and lightly coat both sides of the breasts with olive oil.
  2. Apply your favorite chicken rub to both sides of the breasts. Don't lightly coat the breasts, get a decent amount of rub on the breasts.
  3. Wrap the breasts with saran wrap, and let them sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Before cooking,
  4. Heat your smoker, or grill to High. While your smoker or grill is preheating, remove the breasts from the fridge and allow them to come up to room temperature.
  5. When ready to cook, remove the saran wrap from the breasts and lay them bone side down onto the grill. Roast at High (425 F) for about 12-15 minutes, being sure to not burn the skin.
  6. After roasting, reduce the heat to Medium (or 375 F) and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the internal temperature hits 160 F. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, you can apply your favorite BBQ sauce to the breasts to create a nice glaze.
  7. Remove the breasts from the grill, and allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy!