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Wild Mushroom Risotto

September 18, 2010

Fall weather has started to set in here in the Heartland, and the brisk, cool evenings make me want to drink red wine and eat warm, comforting dishes like this wild mushroom risotto.  The classic mushroom favored for risotto is porcini, but fresh porcini mushrooms are hard to come by in Iowa (and even if I could find them, my budget would have to stretch uncomfortably to accommodate them).  Dried porcini mushrooms offer the same intense, woodsy flavor, and a mere 1/2 an ounce (reconstituted) will do the trick for a full pot of risotto.  However, the texture of reconstituted mushrooms leaves much to be desired, so I also like to add baby bellas to the mix.  Their meaty texture provides a nice complement to the dried porcinis.  Rinse the dried porcinis before soaking them, and then reserve the soaking liquid to use as part of the risotto broth.  I also like to switch up the type of wine I use in risotto; this mushroom recipe works equally well with red or white wine, or dry sherry.  Just make sure whatever wine you choose is dry, because reducing it during cooking will concentrate the sweetness of the wine.  This time around, I used a Tuscan red, and my dinner companion and I enjoyed the rest of the bottle over our meal.

Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas

1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup warm water

3 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 small red onion, minced

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup dry wine or sherry

1/2 cup reserved porcini soaking liquid

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, heated

1/2 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated (I use both)

1 tsp fresh thyme

1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas

Rinse the dried porcinis and then soak in the warm water for about 30 minutes.  Strain out the mushrooms (reserving the soaking liquid) and chop finely.  Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the minced onion and cook until translucent and fragrant.  Add the porcini and chopped baby bella mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 6-8 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium.  Add the arborio rice and stir to coat the rice grains with oil.  Add the wine and, stirring constantly, cook until the wine has evaporated.  Add about 1/2 cup of the reserved mushroom  soaking liquid to the rice, and stir until it had mostly evaporated.  Continue cooking the rice by adding the heated broth 1/2 cup at a time and stirring constantly until each addition of liquid has almost completely evaporated.  When all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, taste the risotto to see if the texture is right.  If the rice is still hard, add more broth and continue cooking.  If the rice is al dente, stir in the grated cheese, thyme, and peas.  Remove from heat and serve.

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3 Comments
  1. September 18, 2010 9:54 pm

    Oh my goodness, that looks so freaking good! Can I trade you some pickles, your canning pot, and your rug for dinner 🙂

  2. September 20, 2010 11:04 am

    Ha ha — that seems like a fair trade to me. Thanks for collecting the rug — totally forgot about that. And I am eager to try some of those pickles!

  3. September 21, 2010 2:24 pm

    I would love to have a bowl of that right now! Warm wild mushroom risotto sounds so earthy and fall-ish. This recipe sounds divine. Thanks!

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