Weekend Cooking: Wild Mushroom Risotto
Risotto is not hard to make but it definitely requires attention and time so I find it to be a weekend meal. I thought Wild Mushroom Risotto was a perfect fall dish for a cold night in Becket.
I found some wonderful looking cremini, button, and local Berkshire shitake mushrooms at the store yesterday. The recipe also calls for dried porcini mushrooms which you rehydrate in hot water and then puree, reserving the water for the risotto.
As an inexperienced risotto chef, I didn’t make any changes to the recipe. One note, though, I did splurge for high quality parmesan and stock. I think the quality of the ingredients you use really matters in a dish like this. The key to making risotto is constant stirring and the gradual addition of the liquid.
This is not a great dinner party dish given the attention it requires and that it really tastes better when served immediately. But it was a great meal for me and Tim on a quiet Saturday night in the Berkshires. I served the risotto with a simple green salad. A nice fall meal!
Wild Mushroom Risotto
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed with heel your hand
- 1 1/2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster or cremini, cleaned and sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaking in 3 cups hot water
- 1 medium or 2 small onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 6 to 7 cups hot chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano
- 1/2 cup chopped chives
Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil and add the smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a medium-high heat. When the garlic cloves have begun to brown and are very aromatic remove and discard them. Add the assorted fresh mushrooms to the pan and season with salt. Saute the mushrooms until they are soft and pliable. Turn off the heat and reserve.
Using your hand, carefully scoop the porcini mushrooms out of the hot water. (At this point the water should have cooled off significantly. If it is still too hot for your hand, use a slotted spoon.) Pour the top 2/3 of the mushroom water into another container and reserve for use while making the risotto. Discard the bottom third. It contains a lot of sand and dirt from the mushrooms. Puree the rehydrated mushrooms with a little of the reserved mushroom water to make a smooth mushroom paste. This will not look good but it will certainly taste good! Reserve.
Coat a large saucepot abundantly with olive oil. Add the onions and season generously with salt. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat. Cook the onions, stirring frequently until they are very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the rice and stir to coat with the olive oil. Cook the rice for 2 to 3 minutes to toast, stirring frequently. Add wine to cover the surface of the rice and stir frequently until it has completely absorbed. Add the reserved mushroom water and then add chicken stock until the liquid has covered the surface of the rice. Stir frequently until the stock has absorbed into the rice. Repeat this process 2 more times. Check for seasoning, you probably will need to add salt.
During the third addition of stock, add the reserved sauteed mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of the pureed porcini mushrooms. When the stock has absorbed into the rice and the rice is cooked but still “al dente”, remove the pot from the heat. Add the butter and cheese and whip until well combined. This will set the perfect consistency of the rice. The rice should flow and not be able to hold its shape and look very creamy. Serve immediately garnished with chives.