Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mushroom Risotto

This is a very earthy and flavorful risotto, perfect for a cold night. Risotto is one of my favorite things to make because it is so versatile.  All you need is a basic risotto recipe, then you can add anything you want.  For this recipe, I went with mushrooms!  Risotto is actually a technique for cooking rice, that's where the dish gets its name.  The holidays are coming up and this would be a perfect dish to make!  Here's how to make it:

What you'll need:

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
2 small onions, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 oz. dried chanterelle mushrooms
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
2 1/2 cups Arborio rice
10 cups chicken stock or broth
3/4 cup white wine, (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
2 tbsp fresh thyme
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
Truffle oil, optional
Salt, as needed

Start out by heating up the chicken stock.  Keep it warm.

In a small pot with water, simmer the dried mushrooms to reconstitute them.  Drain and roughly chop.  Set aside.

In a skillet over medium high heat, coat the bottom with olive oil.  When the oil is hot add one onion and season with salt.  Cook until the onion is translucent then add the sliced criminis.  They will give off some liquid.  Cook until the liquid is evaporated, then add 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tbsp of  thyme and the reconstituted porcinis and chanterelles.  Cook a minute more then set aside.  If you were making another type of risotto, this is the step where you can get creative and add anything you'd like, then later mix it with the rice.

The following steps are what makes the dish risotto.  In a large skillet or wide pot, coat the bottom with olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add the other onion and some salt and cook until it's translucent.  Add the rest of the garlic and cook a minute more.  Add the rice and stir to coat in oil.  

Add the wine.  Keep stirring until the wine is absorbed.  Lower the heat to medium and add a few ladles of the warm chicken stock.  A half cup or so.  Stir stir stir.  Don't stop stirring until the stock is absorbed.  Keep doing this until the rice starts to look really creamy.  About 20 minutes.  Taste it and see if it's tender.  You want the rice to still have some bite to it.  Continue adding stock, stirring and tasting until the rice is at the right consistency.  You will probably have some stock left over but it's better to heat up too much than too little!

When the rice is ready.  Add 3 tablespoons of butter and stir vigorously until the butter has melted and is incorporated.  This will make the risotto really fluffy and creamy.  Add the cheese and stir.  

If you want to add another flavor note to the risotto you can add some truffle oil.  Some people love it and some people really hate it.  It has a very pungent aroma but it adds a really nice flavor.  If you choose to add it, do so now.  I added about 2 teaspoons.  Don't go overboard.  Adding too much can ruin the whole dish.

Stir the mushroom mixture into the risotto along with the other tablespoon of fresh thyme.

Serve immediately!  If the risotto sits it will lose its creaminess and become dry.  If this happens though, try stirring in a little hot chicken stock.  You can serve this by itself or with a protein on top.  Enjoy!

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