risotto w/ mushrooms

First thing to know about risotto- It will be some work, stirring work to be exact, but its more than worth it. Prepare yourself for the results! Risotto is an incredible comfort food, creamy, savory, and can have an infinite number of flavor variations.

Second thing to know- You must use Arborio rice. Do not substitute long grain or anything else. Arborio is an Italian short grain rice, grown originally in the Po Valley, think Modena, Parma, and westward to Torino. The creaminess of the risotto comes straight from the rice starches and proteins, oh and the Parmesan cheese! 

Third thing- How I underestimated the flavor combination of thyme and mushrooms. From this recipe, I now always add thyme when sauteing mushrooms, even for Portobello mushroom sandwiches.

Fourth- I know many people are not giant fans of mushrooms. I, on the other hand, am a huge fan, and happened to find shiitake mushrooms on sale at the grocery store, prompting me to finally make the risotto I had been craving for months. Other variations might include using a vegetable or beef broth in place of chicken, adding basil pesto to the rice before Parmesan, or something else. Onion and garlic are nearly required, so don’t skip them.

sauteing mushrooms, herbs, onions, and garlic

stirring until broth is absorbed, many times

cooked risotto, pre-Parmesan addition

Risotto con fungi, 4 to 6 servings

  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pkg shiitake, 1/2 small pkg button mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp fresh italian parsley (flat leaf), chopped, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Heat all chicken broth in saucepan, keep warm over low heat.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in very large skillet over med heat. Saute 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic until translucent, be careful not to burn garlic. Add fresh mushrooms, herbs, and butter. Saute all for 3 to 5 min until lightly browned and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Heat rest of oil (2 tbsp)  Saute remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add rice and stir quickly until grains are well coated and opaque, 1 min. (cooks starchy coating and prevents grains from sticking). Stir in wine until nearly all evaporated.
  4. With ladle, add 1 cup broth at a time, stirring until absorbed into rice, then add next cup broth. Keep adding broth and stirring until each cup absorbs until rice is slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Will use most if not all broth. Stir in mushrooms. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook until melting, still stirring.
  5. Serve, top with any left over chopped herbs.

recipe altered from Foodnetwork.com, Tyler Florence. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/mushroom-risotto-recipe/index.html