Mushroom risotto is much more than rice and mushrooms, it is a wonderful blend of creamy rice and the earthy taste of the woods. In Italy, mushroom risotto is a classical dish that can be prepared easily at home but that can be found in the finest restaurants. The choice of mushrooms here is what makes the difference, you can go simple with portobello’s or you can go sophisticated with Shitake. However, in Italy the preferred king of mushroom risotto remains the “Porcino” mushroom. This mushroom classified as “Boletus edulis”is found in many Italian and European markets in the Fall and it can be quite expensive. You may be lucky enough to find the dried version abroad, but expect to pay a price for it. However, the price tag may be easily forgotten once you taste the results. Here is a recipe, that I have used for many years:
1/2 Package Arborio rice
1 cup chopped mushrooms of your choice
1 small onion minced
3-4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon butter
Chopped parsley to garnish
In a saucepan, heat the broth and keep it on low heat. In a large pan melt the butter, add onions and saute. Once blond in color, add the mushrooms and after lightly wilted add the dry wine to sizzle. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the Arborio rice and let it sizzle in the pan. Once a bit dry add 1 cup of broth and let the rice absorb it. Once absorbed add another cup and repeat until absorbed and so forth until the rice is tender but yet a bit firm. You do not want to overcook the rice. It is also recommended to taste the rice for saltiness. The rice should appear creamy once ready. Place in dishes and garnish with some parsley and if you wish add a bit of butter as well.
I love this dish and so does my family and friends. It surely feels great to eat this risotto in the fall when mushrooms are at their peak season. Should you use the dry version of porcini or shitake, note that they must be revived first in warm water. Do not make the big mistake of tossing away the brownish water afterwards. This water is very tasty and can be added to the risotto along with the broth. The Arborio rice can be substituted with any other rice but keep in mind that Arborio is the rice of choice for this recipe.
This recipe is also a must for those vegetarians out there. The chicken broth can be substituted with vegetable broth. I hope you enjoy this recipe and keep it in your recipe box!