This is so comforting, so fall. Mushrooms, taleggio, and hazelnuts give the dish a rich umami flavor, and lemon zest and parsley brighten it up. The onions offer just that sweetness and curl around your fork like noodles as you dig in. If you have never had taleggio, it is quite a funky cheese. It has a very earthy flavor, sometimes described as barnyardy, and is a bit chewy, but melts beautifully.
This dish comes together easily. Cook some rice while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Pile it all on top of the rice and broil just until the cheese gets oozy.
Brown Rice and Sweet Onions with Shiitakes and Taleggio Cheese
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 large yellow onion, sliced in half, and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 ounces taleggio cheese, chopped
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and papery skins removed**
1/2 lemon, zested
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook brown rice. Add water and rice to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.
Crisp onions. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and some salt and cook over medium heat until they are crispy on the edges and softened but not completely caramelized, about 10-12 minutes.
Saute mushrooms. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in large oven-proof skillet, such as a cast-iron skillet. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and allow to cook until mushrooms soften, about 8-10 minutes. Add chickpeas, garlic, and rosemary, and cook 2 minutes or until fragrant and chickpeas are warmed. Stir in 2 teaspoons vinegar and immediately remove from heat.
Turn on broiler. Mix rice directly into mushroom mixture, and level. Spread crisped onions over top. Cube taleggio cheese and mix with parsley and hazelnuts until cheese is coated with herbs and nuts. Sprinkle rice with cubes of cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes or just until cheese gets melty. Remove from oven and sprinkle with lemon zest. Enjoy! Serves 4.
**To toast hazelnuts: Toast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes or until skins are starting to peel off and nuts become golden. Place in a kitchen towel to run off as much of the papery skin as possible.