I have lifted my risotto moratorium and put everything that goes good with steak in it – even red wine!

Me and risotto have a bit of a tenuous history. The first time I made it I was working at my first out-of-college-real-job at a local news website. I added the liquid, a little at a time, and I stirred, and added liquid and stirred… and… stirred… and….. An hour into it, it still wasn’t done, and I’m chatting with the food writer at my job with one hand trying to figure out what to do and still stirring with the other hand. The exchange went something like this, which I know because I still have the gtalk buried in my gmail history so it’s pretty much a copy and paste:

me: making risotto = sucky sucky
TG: well you’re a prisoner at the stove for a solid 25 minutes
 me: oh, it’s been longer than that
  i must have done something wrong
TG: well – the actual stirring should take 25 minutes. i’m not factoring in all the annoying chopping and toasting of the rice and such. how long you been at it
 me: stirring 45 minutes
TG: OH that’s a problem
well … not a problem but
 me: oh yes
TG: not correct
me: AND IT’S STILL F*%$#&%* CRUNCHY!!!!
Then, after some trouble shooting…
me: i think the heat isn’t high enough
TG: i think you are right
 me: i have it at about a 2
 TG: OH. yeah. should be like a 6 at least
  out of 10
 me:  what??? the recipe said “low heat”

Then El Gallo comes in and starts getting HANGRY, an argument ensues, and some how after all that we end up eating mushy risotto in silence.

It didn’t go much better the next few times I tried to make it. Typically it ended the same way, with me and El Gallo both cranky and hungry and bickering, finally eating our shitty risotto staring at each other with contempt. After about the 3rd or 4th time, El Gallo put me on a SIRMM (Spouse Imposed Risotto Making Moratorium) because we always ended up in an argument on risotto night. That was probably in 2007. Where has the time gone? Has it really been 8 years since I last attempted a risotto? I did do an oven risotto once (and got a raised eyebrow from the spouse) but oven risotto isn’t the same. It’s more sticky and casserole-like than perfectly al dente rice delicately suspended in a creamy sauce of butter and cheese. You lose the subtlety with oven risotto, but at least we’re still married.

venison recipes

So, my blue cheese happened to be orange. Because at the store I was like “ooh, orange blue cheese, how interesting!” but really it tastes the same.


At any rate, with all the crazy shit I pull in the kitchen these days, carefully crafting recipes for my tiny following, suddenly being married to the stove for the 25 minutes it takes to stir risotto doesn’t seem so daunting. And you know what? 8 years later, it worked! I finally did it right! And it was really really delicious. And no spousal fighting this time!


A few notes on the recipe: I used oyster mushrooms and portobellos. You can get as fancy or unfancy with the mushrooms as you want, I just picked out what looked somewhat fresh and interesting at the store. White buttons will work, or reconstituted porcinis, if you feel so inclined. If you’re really not a blue cheese person, you can leave it out. I wanted to combine everything that goes well with steak into one risotto recipe. Yes, even the wine. If your diners prefer different donenesses of steak, you can always cook them to what everyone wants and not mix the steak slices in with the risotto and lay them on top of it instead. Keep in mind this is a very heavy and filling dish. It’s one of those dishes that’s fun to “plate” with a small amount in the middle, garnished all pretty, and served with something really light like steamed asparagus or a big salad. And, of course, bottomless glasses of vino.

Steak and Mushroom Risotto


  • 1lb venison steak
  • 2 cups Risotto (Arborio) rice (Or any rice, but arborio is creamiest)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (separated)
  • 1 shallot (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 cups Wild/mixed mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1-1.5 cup red wine
  • 4-6 cups broth or water
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola or other blue cheese (crumbled, plus more for garnish)
  • snipped chives (for garnish)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Step 1
Start by cooking the steaks. Set them on a foil lined pan under the broiler to your desired doneness, flipping half way through. (About 3 minutes per side for rare, depending on the thickness). Remove from heat, cover with foil and set aside. Meanwhile, heat half the butter in a pot or skillet and add the shallots and a little salt and pepper. Cook until they start to wilt. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, a minute or two. Then add the mushrooms and rice and give everything a stir to get coated in the butter, continue to cook until the rice becomes translucent.
Step 2
Make sure your stove is set to a little higher than medium, at least a 6 out of 10. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and stir until all the wine has been absorbed. Then add the broth about 1/2 cup at a time, continuously stirring until the liquid is absorbed (about 2 minutes per 1/2 cup). Keep adding liquid until the risotto is creamy but al dente, with a slight bite to it. This should take about 5-6 cups of broth. If it seems like the liquid absorption is taking too long, turn the heat up a notch. Once the rice is cooked, take off the heat, add the other 2 tablespoons of butter and the cheeses with lots of black pepper and stir until incorporated and melty. Slice your steak into and gently mix it in. Garnish with chives and more gorgonzola crumbles.

Non game substitution: Use some good filets or beef tenderloin.

Vegetarian substitution: This is equally delicious without steak in it.

Posted in Venison
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