This restaurant-style mushroom risotto recipe (risotto ai funghi) has an easy step-by-step guide to help you make the best, Michelin-star risotto every time! With fresh mushrooms and dried porcini for the ultimate flavor.
I still haven't met anyone who said no to the creamy texture and the earthy aroma of a mushroom risotto with flavorful porcini.
And if you are like me and you love risotto recipes, you should also try this vegetarian creamy pumpkin risotto with feta cheese and this vegan, healthy white bean risotto (I make it with leftover white bean soup). The Italian-cuisine lovers will especially like this parmesan risotto with ham which tastes like carbonara 🙂
Making this risotto at home is easier than you think and it's as close to fine dining as it gets. Once you taste it, you'll feel like Gordon Ramsay!
So, whether you've got dried porcini or you happened to find some fresh wild mushrooms, let's see how you can make the best of them by using them in this recipe!
This is a perfect recipe for celebrations like Valentine's Day but make sure to check more Valentine's Day recipes if you're searching for what to make for your other half.
😍 Why I love this recipe
✓ Easy: You make everything in one large, deep skillet or saucepan and by following a very easy step by step guide.
✓ Michelin star taste: This easy risotto recipe combines fresh mushrooms with dried porcini to create an intense mushroom flavor which is the signature of this dish. It's like fine dining at home!
✓ Restaurant-style texture: Adding hot liquid in small doses to the rice while it's cooking is key for a creamy texture. Also, instead of cream some milk is used, something that makes this risotto ai funghi recipe lighter.
✓ No wine: This recipe is made without wine, so it's perfect for everyone who doesn't want to use alcohol in his food. I promise you won't miss it at all!
✓ Versatile: It's a delicious vegetarian main course but it can be served as a starter/appetizer or as a side dish next to some protein like chicken or seared scallops.
For this vegetarian risotto recipe with mushrooms you'll need the following ingredients:
Risotto rice: The ordinary white long grain rice or parboiled rice is not suitable for any kind of risotto. Only a short-grain rice variety should be used such as carnaroli rice, Arborio rice or Vialone Nano. These types are high in starch which is released during cooking, making the dish very creamy.
Fresh mushrooms: Any type of mushrooms can be used such as white button mushrooms, Swiss Brown/Cremini mushrooms, Portobello mushrooms, chanterelles, etc. Choose your favorite type or the one available.
Dried Porcini: They make all the difference! Somehow, they transfer their deep flavor to the rest of the mushrooms making them tastier.
You can read more information in the article porcini mushrooms from mushroom-appreciation.com.
Onion: Any onion such as red or white will do.
Parmesan cheese: For the best results, choose a whole piece Parmigiano Reggiano matured for at least 24 months and grate yourself.
Water or broth: It needs to be very hot (almost boiling) in order to not reduce the temperature of the risotto and stop the cooking process. You can warm it in a second pot or in the microwaves.
Milk: It's used instead of cream for a smoother flavor and creamier texture. Use whole milk or reduced fat (2%).
🥣 Substitutions / Variations
Fresh porcini: You can substitute the fresh mushrooms with fresh porcini and make a pure porcini risotto. There's no need for the dried porcini in this case.
Liquid: Even if you use water, it is still absolutely delicious, however you can also use vegetable broth or chicken broth instead.
Olive oil: You can also use a neutral flavor vegetable oil such as canola oil or sunflower oil.
Dried porcini: They can be substituted by a mix of dried wild mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms or you can also omit them. If you omit them make sure to use fresh mushrooms with intense taste such as portobello, oyster mushrooms or a mix of fresh wild mushrooms.
Parmesan cheese: Though I wouldn't suggest it, you can use a close alternative like Grana Padano. Pecorino Romano or a sharp Cheddar may also work (haven't been tasted though!).
Truffle: In many restaurants, risotto ai funghi is served with very thin slices of truffle (or a drizzle of truffle oil) and chopped fresh parsley on top. I really don't find both of these additions necessary, but you can certainly add them if you prefer.
Follow this easy step-by-step guide to make the perfect, creamy mushroom risotto with porcini every time:
Preparation: Rinse the dried mushrooms under running water, transfer them to a small bowl, add 1 cup of hot water and let them soak for 15-20 minutes.
In the meantime, remove any dirt from the fresh mushrooms using kitchen paper or a clean towel (below image). Don't rinse them with water because they'll absorb moisture. After that, using a sharp knife, chop them into small pieces.
Step #1: Heat a large skillet (or a deep, wide saucepan) over high heat and add the chopped fresh mushrooms and the olive oil. Stir frequently until the mushrooms start to water and release their juices.
After all of their juices are evaporated, the browning process will begin. This will give them flavor, so you don’t want to rush it.
Step #2: Add the risotto rice and the chopped onion to the skillet. Stir frequently to toast the rice and soften the onion. Then add the minced garlic and stir for 1 minute.
Step #3: Add the soaked porcini with their water and stir with a wooden spatula to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Reduce to medium heat and wait until most of the water is absorbed, stirring frequently.
Step #4: Once most of the water from the soaked mushrooms is absorbed, start adding the hot water in small doses (a soup ladle is perfect for this job), waiting for each dose to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next one. Also, give the rice a vigorous stir from time to time to help it extract its starches.
Step #5: Once there is about one cup of the broth (or water) left, add the grated Parmesan cheese and the milk. Stir to combine and let it come to a gentle simmer.
Finish: Add some salt and freshly ground black pepper and taste to adjust the seasonings and the doneness of the rice. The rice should be cooked through but al dente. If it's not done yet, add some more broth and continue cooking for a few minutes more.
Optionally, add a tablespoon of cold butter at the end and stir to combine.
👨🍳 Expert Tips
• I will say it again: always use risotto rice (short grain)
• Have the water (or broth) in a small pot on the stove, almost simmering. This way, when you add it to the rice, it won't stop the cooking process.
• Add the hot water in small doses and give the rice a vigorous stir from time to time to help it extract its starches. Some Italian chefs like to forcefully shake the saucepan because slamming the rice on the sides of the pan also releases more starch. With this cooking technique you'll definitely get a very creamy consistency.
• You can never know exactly how much liquid you'll need. This depends on the rice, the size and material of your saucepan and the intensity of the heat. Taste the risotto to determine doneness.
• The risotto will continue to cook after you take it off the stove-top. That's why you should taste it and take it off the heat one minute before you think it will be ready. At this point it should look more "soupy" than regular (just as you see in the following photo). This creamy liquid will be absorbed in the next few minutes, so by the time you're ready to eat it, it will be creamy and al dente at the same time.
The best substitute for dry white wine is chicken stock or vegetable broth. You can also use water if you don't have anything else.
The type of rice used and the cooking technique. Choose a short-grain risotto rice like Carnaroli or Arborio with plenty of starch.
As for the cooking technique, add the liquid in small doses stirring vigorously. Wait for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding the nest dose.
Many recipes use cream to make risotto thicker. However, cream is not necessary for many risotto recipes, and can be replaced by milk or chicken broth.
Adding cold butter at the end of the cooking process makes the risotto creamier and more rich. This step is called mantecatura in Italian.
The Italians have a saying: the risotto doesn't wait for you, you wait for the risotto. This means that you should serve the risotto right away. The next day the consistency will not be the same and there is nothing you can do to fix that.
However, if you have any leftovers you can store it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
The only "acceptable" way I have found to reheat risotto is on the microwaves. I sprinkle it with a few drops of water, cover it with plastic wrap and pop it in the microwave oven for 1-2 minues.
Covering it with aluminum foil and reheating it in the oven can also work. Any other method that involves stirring will break the rice and a mushy mess.
Freezing risotto is not recommended because the texture of the rice will be grainy and the creaminess will be completely lost.
🍳 Food Pairing
If you're serving it as a side dish, it will pair very well with chicken, seared scallops, sauteed shrimps or grilled lobster (if you want to be more fancy).
Here are some more suggestions:
Best creamy mushroom risotto recipe without wine
For the porcini:
- 0.7 oz (20 g) dried porcini mushrooms (a little more than ½ cup)
- 1 cup (240 g) hot water
For the risotto:
- 2 tablespoons (26 g) olive oil
- 1.65 pounds (750 g) fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cups (380 g) risotto rice, such as arborio, carnaroli
- 1 onion, finely chopped (or grated)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
- 4 cups (960 g) boiling water or chicken broth-stock – you may not need it all
- 1 cup (240 g) warm milk
- 1 cup (100 g) grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) cold butter (optional)
- 2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
- freshly grated black pepper
- Prepare the porcini: Rinse them under running water, then transfer them to a small bowl, add the 1 cup of hot water and let them soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Saute the fresh mushrooms: Place a large skillet or deep, wide saucepan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and the mushrooms and sauté stirring frequently with a wooden spatula until the mushrooms are browned and fragrant (about 10 minutes).
- Toast the rice and the onion: Reduce heat to medium-high and add the rice and the chopped onion. Cook stirring frequently until the onion is translucent and soft (about 5 minutes).Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the soaked porcini with their water and the dried thyme and stir with a wooden spatula to deglaze the pan. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until almost all of the water is absorbed by the rice.
- Add the hot water/stock: Start adding the hot liquid in small doses (using a soup ladle is perfect for this job), waiting for each dose to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next one. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
- Add the Parmesan and milk: When you have about 1 cup of water or broth left, add the milk, the grated parmesan cheese, the salt and the pepper. Stir to combine, taste and adjust the salt and the black pepper. Continue cooking until the risotto is creamy and the rice is cooked but still al dente (taste it every now and then to determine when it's ready). You may need to add some more hot water.One minute before you think the risotto is going to be ready, take it off the stovetop. Add the butter (if using) and gently stir. Serve immediately.
- I suggest breaking the large chunks of dried porcini into smaller ones for better distribution throughout the dish.
- While you sauté the fresh mushrooms, at some point they will start to water out. Continue cooking until all of their juices evaporate. After that point, cook them some more, stirring frequently, until they start to smell awesome.
- Have the water (or broth) in a small pot on the stove, almost simmering. This way, when you add it to the rice, it won't stop the cooking process. I usually have a little more than half a cup of water/stock left.
- The risotto will continue to cook after you take it off the stove-top. That's why you should taste it and take it off the heat one minute before you think it will be ready. At this point it should look more "soupy" than regular.