Lunchbreak: Whole Grain Risotto with roasted root vegetables, sage and pumpkin seed pistou

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Ace Hotel Chicago Executive Chef Pat Sheerin

City Mouse at Ace Hotel Chicago (311 N. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607)


  • City Mouse’s Chicago Restaurant Week menu is available to view, here. Three-course lunch menu is $24 per person; Four-course dinner menu is $48 per person. Chicago Restaurant Week takes place from Friday, January 25 to Thursday, February 7.


Whole Grain Risotto with roasted root vegetables, sage and pumpkin seed pistou

 Whole Grain Risotto

With roasted root vegetables, sage and pumpkin seed pistou

Serves 4 (entrée) or 8 (appetizer)

Almost everything can be done ahead of time so that it’s easy to assemble for dinner. This is about the assembly and finishing it. We’ll break up the recipe into three main parts:

  • Risotto
  • Roasted root vegetables
  • Sage and pumpkin seed pistou

Risotto Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked steel cut oatmeal (see below), broken up by hand
  • ½ cup sprouted lentils
  • ½ cup cooked wild rice – simmered in vegetable stock, strain and save the stock
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 glasses of sherry – 1 for the cook and 1 for the pot
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock – hot, add the liquid from simmering the wild rice
  • Splash of sherry vinegar
  • Salt, to taste


To finish the dish, lightly toast the garlic in olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and a little bit of salt to help the onions break down and sweat. Once the onions are soft, add 1 glass of sherry and let it reduce by half. Add the lentils and oatmeal, moving around to break up into individual grains. Bring to a boil, ladling in stock, as needed. Add the wild rice and fold in the quinoa at the end. Add more stock as needed for a nice consistency like a porridge, check the seasoning and adjust with salt and a few added drops of sherry vinegar. Serve accordingly.

***Cooking Steel Cut Oatmeal

Steel Cut Oatmeal Ingredients

  • 2 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup of steel cut oats, gluten free
  • Fat pinch of salt


Bring the water to a boil, add the salt and whisk in the oatmeal. The salt helps the starch not absorb the water too rapidly. Bring back to a boil and then turn down to a simmer, cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Cool down on plastic sheet trays, break it up into quarts before it gets a skin.

Roasted Winter Vegetables Ingredients

***All should be around ¾” in size. You may not need all of it – save for another meal or snack.

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups diced rutabaga
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 2 cups broccoli florets – peel and slice the stems and use those, as well
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil mixed with 2-3 drops of toasted sesame seed oil
  • Salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 390°F. Toss the cauliflower, rutabaga, and butternut squash with a little bit of salt and the majority of the olive oil mix. Place on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray in a single layer and roast for approximately 30 minutes, moving the vegetables around every 10 minutes or so; add the broccoli and roast an additional 1o minutes before serving.

Pistou Ingredients

  • 1 ounce (2T) fresh sage
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 bunch of parsley, picked, washed and dried
  • Salt, to taste


Warm the olive oil and garlic in a non-reactive pot over low heat until the garlic is a light golden brown. Add the pumpkin seeds and sage, and toast for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a casserole pan to cool. Transfer to a blender and add the parsley leaves, adding a little bit of salt. Puree until smooth and reserve.


Divide equally and top with the roasted vegetables and a dollop of pistou.


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