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Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms - Risotto ai Funghi Porcini

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The risotto contains crimini, shitake and porcini mushrooms.
Thomas Barwick/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Mushroom risotto is wonderful, especially in the fall when the mushrooms are freshly dried. If you cannot find porcini, use wild mushrooms. To serve 4:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • A one-ounce packet dried porcini (25 g, about a packed half cup)
  • 1/2 of a small onion, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, or: 3 tablespoons olive oil + 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) short-grained rice, for example Arborio or Vialone Nano
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine, warmed in a pan on the stove
  • 1 cup (50 g) frehsly grated Parmigiano
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream (optional)
  • The water the mushrooms were soaked in, strained, and a quart of simmering water, beef broth, or watery bouillon
  • A bunch of parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Steep the porcini in a cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the onion finely and sauté it in either three tablespoons of oil or 1/4 cup of butter. When it's lightly browned remove it to a plate with a slotted spoon and stir the rice into the drippings in the pot. Sauté the rice for several minutes, until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly lest it stick and burn.

Return the onions to the pot, stir in the wine, and continue stirring until it has evaporated completely. Then stir in a first ladle of liquid (if you're using plain water, add about 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt at this time), and while it's absorbing, chop the mushrooms and strain the liquid they soaked in, which can contain sand. Add the mushrooms and their liquid to the rice, then continue adding water or broth a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally. About five minutes before the rice is done, check seasoning. As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the remaining butter, half the cheese, the cream if you're using it, a little bit of ground pepper, the parsley, and cover the risotto for two minutes. Serve with the remaining grated cheese.

The wine? A light red, along the lines of a Sangiovese di Romagna or a Valcalepio Rosso would be nice.

Note: For a libidenous treat, use fresh wild mushrooms. If you have an abundance, and the mushrooms have large caps, I would use just the stems, chopping them, while grilling the caps (they're wonderful over a steak). If you don't have an abundance, or the cpas are small, use them too, and figure about a pound of wild mushrooms for four people.
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