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Alana Peckham gives New District her Risotto recipe

Mushroom Risotto of Champions

Chef Alana Peckham has a distinguished career in Vancouver. She's alumna of Lumiere Restaurant, Cru and Hart House, and was crowned Food Network's CHOPPED CANADA Champion in 2015. She's now shaping the next generation of chef talent as an instructor at Vancouver's celebrated Northwest Culinary Academy.

Truffle Mushroom Risotto with Arugula Pesto and Cherry Reduction

Serves: 4

This flavourful risotto was recently served to world famous Italian chef, Emmy award-winning TV host and author Lidia Bastianich, right here in Vancouver. Alana, Lidia and New District’s Director of Wine DJ Kearney are all members of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a global organization of prominent women in the field of hospitality.


1/4 cup  olive oil (or Alana prefers to use Alligga Flaxseed Cooking Oil)
2 cups mixed mushrooms
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 cup carnaroli risotto rice (carnaroli is an extra firm grain, but arborio will also do)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2-3 cups mushroom stock
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp truffle paste or truffle oil
4 tbsp arugula pesto (recipe follows)
4 tbsp cherry balsamic reduction (recipe follows)
  salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil on high heat in a medium sized pot and sauté the mushrooms with a pinch of salt until they are cooked and start to caramelize
  2. In a separate pot, heat the mushroom stock until it is hot but not boiling, keep the stock hot until ready for use
  3. Remove the cooked mushrooms from the pot, reduce the heat and sweat the onions in 2 Tablespoons of butter and pinch of salt until they are soft
  4. Add the risotto rice to the butter and onions and sweat the rice until the grains are coated in butter and start to slightly toast
  5. Add the wine and increase the heat to reduce the wine and cook until the rice is almost dry
  6. Once the wine is cooked out, add a ladle of hot stock, stir the risotto and simmer until the risotto has absorbed the stock
  7. Continue to add hot stock to the risotto and allow the risotto to cook and absorb the stock until the rice is cooked (this will take upwards of 20 minutes; risotto is done when the rice is firm but not crunchy)
  8. Finish the risotto with 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, parmesan cheese and the truffle paste or oil and serve in a warmed bowl with the arugula pesto (but a spoonful atop the risotto), and drizzle with the cherry balsamic reduction

Ingredients for the cherry balsamic reduction:

1/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sugar


  1. Combine all of the ingredients into a pot and simmer for about 30 minutes
  2. Cool the cherries and vinegar slightly before adding to a blender and blending until smooth
  3. Keep the cherry balsamic reduction in a container with a lid and set aside until ready for use

Ingredients for the pesto:

1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil (or Alana uses Alligga Flaxseed Cooking Oil)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups washed fresh arugula
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
clove of garlic
  salt to taste


  1. Combine the pine nuts, oils, salt and clove of garlic into a food processor and blend until well combined
  2. Add the arugula and parmesan and continue to blend until a pesto consistency
  3. Adjust the flavouring with salt if needed
  4. Store in a container with a lid in the fridge until ready for use

New District

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