Wild Mushroom Risotto

Normally I wait until Thursday or Friday to make a chef’s recipe but this week I was so happy about Anne that I made her dish on Tuesday. Watching Anne cook is really exciting and certainly ignites a passion in me. You can see why she was a teacher at a culinary institute for awhile.

I mentioned I had leftover arborio rice from a recipe last year and I really wanted to try my hand at a risotto again.  Searching Anne’s recipes located this wild mushroom risotto.  This being only my second risotto (and second dish ever to make with rice) I found it odd when Anne’s recipe had me toast the rice.  That wasn’t something I was expecting and it kind of weirded me out, especially after being so afraid I was going to play the pick-out-the-scorched-rice out game.

Going through the reviews on the recipe everyone was raving about how you put some sort of rehydrated mushroom paste into it and that REALLY gives it the flavor of shrooms you are wanting.  I mean srsly, just about every post was raving about it so I had to go on a treasure hunt to find dried mushrooms of any type and eventually tracked them down in a corner of Homeland that can only be reached by a bridge guarded by a cave troll.

The last time I made risotto I ended up with enough to feed the military so I halved the recipe this time and ended up with 2-3 decent servings.

Have you ever reconstituted mushrooms before?  It looks pretty gross and jeezy creezy does it smell bad.  After rehydrating them I wasn’t sure if I had porcini mushrooms or zombie flesh… I am craving brains at the moment though!

(self edit: Boooooo!  That was bad, I know… die in a fire)

Come to think of it, at no point does risotto ever actually look good. It always looks like you are on the verge of scraping it onto a plate for your evil cat to dine.  That’s okay though because if you get it right, risotto is a delicacy.

See, even when reducing it looks gross, am I making risotto or trying to get shoe leather edible?

Yuck.

I did babysit it very well though.  I didn’t get to pick out anything scorched at all!

So you finally get done babysitting dinner and you feel a bit… let down.  It looks like mush with shrooms in it but then you notice you got the perfect creamy consistency that it calls for.  You lean in to smell it and your eyes roll back in desire.

The first bite.

Ecstasy.

Before you know it the top button of your pants is pinging off your wine glass as it flies from your ever expanding waistline.

This is probably the best thing I’ve ever cooked.  Srsly.  This will be added to my list of things I would cook myself and devour.  Having a risotto in your repertoire is also something you can brag about even though once you do it you realize it really is easy as pie.

Cooking Notes:

1.  Use a dry white wine you enjoy.  This also makes it extremely easy to pair the correct wine with it… ya know… if ya enjoy wine.

2.  The chives add some color but aren’t necessary, I’d recommend just skipping them.

3.  This turns into A LOT of food.  Halve the recipe for 2-3 people.

4.  It’s supposed to reheat well (I haven’t tried) but make sure to add some water when you do it.  If you don’t the texture will be very gummy.

5.  It retains its heat VERY WELL due to the density of the dish.  You can take it off when al dente and have no problem that it will finish itself off.

Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed with heel your hand
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms, such as shiitakeoyster 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

Directions

Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil and add the smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a medium-high heat. When thegarlic 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 andaromatic 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 andcheese 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 withchives.

 

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