This risotto smells like fall. The porcini mushrooms and parmesan lend it a divine taste.
This is a comfort food. Yes, it has neither meat nor bacon, BUT it’s one of the best dishes out there. The thing that makes all the difference is the porcini mushrooms. Not only they shine through this recipe, but in a magical way they transfer their taste to the rest of the mushrooms making them tastier. In my opinion, this dish doesn’t need a lot of herbs or spices, because I don’t want them to overshadow the taste of the porcini. Only some dried thyme and freshly grated pepper is used, which pair really well and compliment the flavor of mushrooms.
As for most of the good things in life, you should have a little patience if you want to make this recipe… meaning that you’ll have to be over the stove for the entire cooking time (OK, you can leave it for a minute and
spy your neighbor check your messages, but no longer!)
First, you want to deal with the mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms have a high water content which means that when they are thrown onto a sizzling pan they will water out. You can sprinkle them with some salt to help them do that. After all of their water has evaporated, the browning process will begin. This will give them flavor, so you don’t want to rush it. Stir them in the hot pan often, until you can smell that distinct forest-y smell.
Be careful at this point, because their smell will trigger memories. It doesn’t take much for me to start daydreaming that I’m walking on a narrow path through the forest after a rainy morning… Some old tree logs on my right, half covered with wet moss, are standing the one next to the other like ancient forest souls, supervising their surroundings. The rays of sun, persistently trying το peek through the thick leaves, bouncing onto the fresh drops of water making them glow like little gems. And there, just beside the roots of a big oak tree, on the dump soil, I notice some mushrooms patiently waiting for me to pick them up… Anyway, every time I make mushrooms they have that effect on me 🙂 .
But let’s get back to the recipe. After the mushrooms brown and somewhat caramelize, add the onion and thyme and stir for a minute or two. Then add the rice, let it cook for one minute and add the soaked porcini and the wine. If the porcini have a little dirt/soil, you may need to strain the wine.
This recipe is usually made with cream. Substituting it with milk, reduces the total fat of the dish and makes it healthier. No compromises in taste though! And if you happen to like risotto recipes, you’ll love this chicken soup risotto.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (champignons or other variety)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme finely chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- ¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms (a little less than 1 ounce/ 25 grams), wiped of dirt.
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cups risotto rice (carnaroli, carolina, saint andrea)
- 7-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ cup grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and freshly grated pepper to taste
- Soak dried porcini in white wine for 2-3 hours before cooking.
- In a deep pan saute mushrooms in high heat with olive oil. At some point they will start to water out. Continue cooking until all of their water enaporates and start to smell awsome.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the chopped onion and thyme and continue cooking until translucent.
- Add rice and stir for 1-2 minutes (at this stage you should be careful not to burn the onion).
- Add white wine with porcini.
- When wine evaporates start adding the stock, half a cup at a time. Reduce to medium-low and simmer gently.
- After adding about 6 cups of stock, add the milk, salt and pepper.
- Start tasting the risotto, adjust salt and pepper and when almost ready add the parmesan and the butter. It should be almost cooked through, creamy but not mushy.
- Turn off the heat. It will continue to cook for a while until you serve it.