Porcini mushroom risotto is a classic Italian rice dish made with rice and hot stock with several different ingredients, including porcini, of course. Risotto is particularly popular in Northern Italy because that area is suitable for cultivation of rice. The best risotto should be creamy, rich, and with a just right consistency (enough cooked, but not mushy). Normally, people cook risotto with special short-grain rice which contains a lot of starch and can absorb enough liquid. Those varieties include: arborio, vialone nano, carnaroli, and so on. Porcini are one of my favorite ingredients especially for risotto because they have a unique woody flavor and aroma – though I love all mushrooms. It is easier to find dried porcini rather than fresh ones, if you are going to prepare a nice porcini mushroom risotto. If so, you can use not only the mushroom but also the soaking water as stock for your cooking. There is nothing to throw away. Cool, isn’t it? So let’s see how to make a lovely porcini mushroom risotto.
INGREDIENTS 5 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup minced onion 2 tablespoons minced shallots 12 ounces fresh porcini mushrooms, sliced 2 cups Arborio rice ½ cup dry white wine 6½ cups hot chicken or vegetable stock ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits
½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat the olive oil in a medium casserole, and sauté the onion and shallots until golden. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat it with oil. Pour in the wine, stir well, and add ½ cup of the hot stock and the salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Continue to add hot stock in small batches (just enough to completely moisten the rice), stirring constantly to help the liquid absorb, until the rice mixture is creamy and al dente. Remove from the heat, whip in the butter and cheese, season with pepper to taste, and serve porcini mushroom risotto immediately.