Recently I arrived in the Cronig’s produce section just as they were topping off the mushroom bins with piles of fat, fresh creminis, shiitakes, and oyster mushrooms. They looked so perky that I couldn’t resist getting a big handful of each.

When you see a particularly fresh bunch of shiitakes, oyster mushrooms, and creminis at the store, nab some of each and combine to make a delicious and versatile mushroom sauté.
Susie Middleton

At home I sliced and sautéed them all until golden brown. I cooked a cup of short grain brown rice pasta-style (in boiling water), drained the rice and saved the cooking water. I used some of that cooking water and a little cream to make the mushrooms just saucy enough to fold into the rice and give it a nice texture. I added Parmigiano and a mix of lemon zest, parsley and toasted almonds, and voila, a comforting side dish (or vegetarian main), not unlike a brown rice risotto — but easier.

Susie Middleton

A few notes:

  • If you’ve never had the plump, toothy, short grain brown rice, I think you’ll really enjoy it. It’s a whole different experience from long grain brown rice, and it does well with the easy pasta-style cooking method. That said, you could take the mushroom sauté and combine it with any grain, any kind of noodle, cous cous or even white beans.
  • Any leftover rice-cooking liquid that you don’t use in your sauce can be refrigerated or frozen and used for soups.
  • Feel free to add chopped fresh garlic to your mushroom sauté if you like – just add the garlic in at the end so it just gets softened, not burned.
  • Be sure to cook your mushrooms until most of them take on a nice golden brown color for the most flavor.
  • A nonstick skillet (which I call for) is easy, but a stainless or other skillet will create more browned bits on the bottom of the pan. These will add flavor to your sauce when you add the liquids and scrape them up, but it can be a bit frustrating as mushrooms tend to stick (keeping the heat on medium-high helps) and you might need to add a little more fat along the way.
  • Pay attention to the seasoning with this dish. I like to salt my mushrooms part of the way through cooking as they tend to absorb salt. I also lightly salt my brown rice part of the way through cooking. Both will need a little more salt after cooking, but be sure to taste! Once you combine the two and add the Parmigiano, taste again before adding any more salt. If you need just a bit more, try a splash of tamari, which will also add some brightness.


Serves 4 as a side dish


  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 generous pound (about 1 pound after shiitake stems are removed) fresh, medium-to-large mushrooms (I like a combination of creminis, shiitakes and oyster mushrooms)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 generous teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds, lightly chopped

Cook the rice

1. Fill a small Dutch oven or soup pot three-quarters full of water and bring it to a boil. Add the rice and stir to make sure it is not stuck to the bottom. Adjust the heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is a pleasing texture, about 28 to 32 minutes. Begin tasting a kernel or two after 25 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon of kosher salt halfway through cooking.

2. Arrange a colander in a bowl in the sink. When the rice is cooked pour it into the strainer so that the bowl below collects the cooking liquid. Lift the strainer up and shake off excess liquid. Return the rice to the warm cooking pot and loosely cover it. Reserve the cooking liquid. Measure out ½ cup of it. 

Prep and cook the mushrooms and combine

3. Cut away the stems from the shiitakes and slice the caps thickly. Slice the creminis thickly. Tear the oyster mushrooms gently away from the stem they are clustered around. (Most of the stem is tender in young oyster mushrooms.)

4. In a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, heat the butter and the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add all the mushrooms. Stir to coat the mushrooms with the fat. Cook* until most of the mushrooms are a deep golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon salt about halfway through cooking. Season with freshly ground pepper.

*In the first few minutes of cooking, stir regularly as the mushrooms release their liquids. In the next several minutes, stir only infrequently so that the mushrooms will have lots of contact with the bottom of the plan. As the liquids disappear and the mushrooms brown up, stir more frequently. 

5. Add the heavy cream and the ½ cup of rice cooking liquid to the pan of mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquids reduce by about half and thicken up just enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon – the pan should  still look saucy. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mushrooms and liquids to the pot of rice. Stir gently.

6. Add the Parmigiano to the rice and mushrooms, stir, and taste for salt. If the mix needs more salt, consider a dash or two of tamari to finish.  

7. In a small bowl, combine the chopped parsley, the lemon zest and the chopped almonds. Fold three-quarters of that mixture into the mushrooms and rice just before serving and garnish with the remainder.