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From the food editor: For Father's Day, steak with a side of mushroom risotto

French Onion Soup Risotto. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.

French Onion Soup Risotto. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.

My dad is not what you would call an adventurous eater.

But that doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate a good meal. In fact, he has come a long way from the more limited diet I remember growing up. A true meat-and-potatoes man, he now embraces zucchini as well as hot dogs, broccoli in addition to pork chops. He has recently discovered the wonders of things like short ribs and risotto.

I don't think he would call himself an avid cook, but he's no stranger to the kitchen, always up for helping to grate cheese or slice potatoes. There are some things he makes regularly, lending his Dad touch to dishes including grilled cheese, zucchini noodles, hash browns. His scrambled eggs are still the best egg dish in town.

One of his very favorite things to eat is steak, something he probably got from his filet mignon-loving parents, and has since ingrained in me. A reliably gut-busting story in our family is the time I was 10 years old and ordered a filet then slathered it with ketchup.

So for dad's special day, I am going to be cooking up a large cut of meat. New York Strip is an ideal option to make at home, more affordable than a filet but still easy enough to work with and flavorful.

I use a cast iron skillet to cook my steaks at home, but if you don't have one of these, use the heaviest skillet you have. Set it on the stove and crank the heat up to high, allowing the pan to get hot before adding any meat to it.

Meanwhile, pat the meat dry with a couple of paper towels. This removes moisture from the steak, allowing it to get a better sear. Season with salt and pepper on both sides, then place it into the pan.

The pan should be smoking at this point, and the steak should sizzle immediately. Let it cook on this side for about a minute, then flip it over and let it cook on the other side for another minute. Press down gently and keep cooking, flipping every 30 seconds or so. After about 4 or 5 minutes, check for doneness. Medium-rare meat will have a reading of 120 to 125 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Remove from the pan and move to a plate or other flat surface. Cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest at least 5 minutes.

If you can persuade Dad to give up the standard baked potato with his steak, serve it with a creamy risotto that uses mushrooms and caramelized onions to match the meat's umami flavor. (If you go with the potato, make sure to serve with plenty of butter and chopped scallions or chives on the side.)

It's best to start the steak after the risotto is completely finished and left to stay warm on a burner turned very low. That way, both can be served warm and at their most flavorful. A meal fit for the dads who cook — or those who will just eagerly clean their plate.


French Onion Soup Risotto


  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium white onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup wild mushrooms, cleaned if necessary and torn or sliced into smaller pieces if thick
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or thyme
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Keep it simmering throughout the cooking process.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet (you can also use a medium saucepan), heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Add butter and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 15 minutes to quickly caramelize the onions. If the onions are cooking too quickly, lower the heat.
  3. Remove onions from pan and set aside, but leave as many pan drippings in the pan as you can. Make sure heat is on medium and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to sweat, about 3 minutes, then add garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper and cook until they are soft.
  4. Add rice and stir until grains begin to crackle. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine is no longer visible. Stir in enough simmering stock to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly. Cook, stirring often and vigorously, until stock is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of stock and continue cooking, not too fast and not too slowly, stirring often and adding more stock when rice is almost dry, for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in onions, herbs and Parmesan, and remove from heat. Season with black pepper and serve immediately. Serves 2.
Source: Adapted from the New York Times

From the food editor: For Father's Day, steak with a side of mushroom risotto 06/12/17 [Last modified: Monday, June 12, 2017 12:41pm]
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