Eating local, being more of a ‘locavore” is the foundation and underlying theme for this month’s theme “100 Miles of Flavor” in the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club.

.Wow, what’s really growing or freshly available in April in South Carolina?  Hmmm, way too early for peaches that’s for sure and even local-grown rhubarb isn’t even ready yet.  So just what is unique to this region of the world at this time of year?


Here’s a bit of foodie trivia that I’ll bet most of you don’t know!   The only rice plantation from “colonial” times that still offers rice is from the state of South Carolina, producing a special grain that has a distinctive aroma and aromatic taste from the 18th century that is difficult to find elsewhere.

The taste of this rice is said to be a result of the rich soil, climate, water (from rivers and ocean tidal water) and northern latitude in which it is grown.  Even food and gardening guru, Martha Stewart has claimed that South Carolina rice is the most aromatic rice grown in the United States.

That sure says alot, doesn’t it?

To learn more or to order on-line, click on this {link}.

“Carolina Gold” is only truly authentic when it is grown in the Carolinas.  Way back in 1685, a distressed merchant ship arrived in Charleston where repairs to the ship were paid for with a small quantity of rice seed from Madagascar. Dr. Henry Woodward planted the seed in South Carolina, beginning the state’s 200 year history as the leading rice producer in the United States. At the turn of the century, rice cultivation ended in the Low Country of South Carolina due to a weak market, inadequate machinery, and competition from the Gulf States.”
“Until recently most of the “Carolina Gold” rice was unfortunately grown in the Gulf States only, and not in South Carolina where it originated from. So with a commitment to providing authentic Carolina-grown products, Carolina Plantation Rice has once again brought this special rice back to South Carolina by devoting a portion of it’s rice acreage to the cultivation of true, authentic “Carolina Gold” rice.”
S.C. rice fields

So because of this unique agricultural crop in the U.S., I chose ‘rice’ as my ingredient within 100 miles.

Risotto, that wonderful creamy, decadent, irresistible Italian grain led me on my search for a Cooking Light recipe.


Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone Cheese captured my attention.  Other than Italian Arborio rice, “Carolina Gold” is the rice of choice to make risotto.

Oh my goodness!

Seriously, this rice dish is so outrageously wonderful, that I was eating the risotto straight out of the pot . . . it’s really that good.  A heavenly, creamy, dreamy indulgence without the calories!  I just could not wait to put this rice on our dinner plates.  Even my husband devoured his, despite his dislike of mushrooms.

We both felt that this was something that would be served in a 5-star restaurant.  Now let me warn you, this is a heavy mushroom-y and meat-y flavored risotto.  It may be lighter in calories, but it is very hearty with a taste full of gusto.  That may be the reason why my meat-and-potato lovin’ husband liked it so much.  Cooking Light gave it a 5-star ‘outstanding’ rating with high praises from others who have prepared this great rice dish.  I’ll most definitely make this again and again!

I did make two little changes:  As always I doubled the garlic (surprised?), and at the end of cooking, I added 3 Tbsp. of half and half because the risotto was too thick.  One could also cook down the liquid a bit less so that it is not all absorbed into the rice.  But you be the judge if you prepare this wonderful rice side dish!


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Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone Cheese

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  • Author: Roz
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Additional Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale

  • 11/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1 (14-oz) can less-sodium beef broth
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice, such as Carolina Gold Rice
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I doubled this)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. half and half (my addition to the recipe)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • extra mascarpone and Parmesan cheese to pass around and top on risotto individually


  1. Combine 1-1/2 cups boiling water and mushrooms; let stand 10 minutes or until soft.
  2. Drain through a colander over a bowl.
  3. Reserve 1-1/4 cups soaking liquid; chop mushrooms.
  4. Bring reserved soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil).
  5. Keep broth mixture warm over low heat.
  6. Coat large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
  7. Add rice, shallots, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes.
  8. Add wine; cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).
  9. Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes).
  11. Add mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone cheeses, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  12. Stir gently just until cheeses melt.
  13. Add the half and half if you prefer.
  14. Serve warm.
  15. Provide extra mascarpone and Parmesan cheeses for guests to top their risotto if desired.
  16. Calories: 198 for 1 cup serving