Earthy Wild Mushroom Risotto

finishedrisotto1I’m starting to wrap up another busy week here, and it has turned cold outside once again. A perfect time to make a warm, rich and delicious risotto for dinner.

Risotto is such a luxurious dish to me. Truly it is all about the essence of a few fine ingredients, allowing each one to shine through. The texture is so creamy, the rice so enriched with the chicken stock it has absorbed over time, along with a little bit of some sweet shallot and just a dash of wine. I always finish mine by stirring in some finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano for that extra depth of nutty richness and creaminess that only cheese can bring. A dish fit for a king. Or company. Or just you. We can’t get enough of it.

I think lots of folks believe that risotto is hard to make, and really it isn’t. You do need to prep all of your ingredients ahead of time, so you can concentrate on stirring in the broth, little by little. But stirring is really the hardest part…and that’s not hard at all, anyone can do that. And the results of making your own hot risotto are sublime. A taste that is truly out of this world good.

So I challenge those of you out there who have never made it to give it a try. You won’t be sorry you did, and the reward will be well worth your time. In fact, you’ll be wishing you made more so that you’d have leftovers for risotto cakes, but we’ll go down that road at a later date. Here’s how I made my risotto. Mangia!

I really wish I had some of this right now.

I really wish I had some of this right now.

Earthy Wild Mushroom Risotto
Makes 2 very generous dinner-sized portions or serves 4 as a primo

For the Mushrooms:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
8 oz. mixed wild mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used baby bellas, oyster and shiitake)
1 Tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
A pinch of kosher salt

For the Risotto:
6 cups of very good quality homemade or purchased chicken stock (I used my homemade roasted chicken stock)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 cup arborio rice
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
A pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
A sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)

Bring the broth just to a simmer in a small sauce pan and keep warm over low heat, do not boil.

Place the 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they have released their liquid, just begun to brown and most of the liquid has reabsorbed. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and the thyme leaves. Add the 1 Tablespoon of sherry off the heat, then return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry has just been absorbed. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallot is soft and just beginning to lightly brown, then sprinkle with a tiny pinch of kosher salt. Add the rice to the pan and stir constantly for 30 seconds, then add the sherry and cook about 15 seconds more. Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly or until the broth is absorbed by the rice, but not dry. Add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed but the rice is not dry, each time before adding the next 1/2 cup. This will take about 20-25 minutes total.

When the last amount of liquid is absorbed and the risotto is creamy, remove from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese until well combined, then stir in the cooked mushrooms. Serve the risotto immediately, finishing with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves, if desired.

*****

Not a mushroom fan? Eat your risotto without the mushrooms…it’s wonderful, or check out my Caramelized Onion Risotto with Aged Balsamic Drizzle.

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37 thoughts on “Earthy Wild Mushroom Risotto

  1. What a lovely post and you’re absolutely spot on with the weather being so chilly, this creamy risotto would surely hit the spot. Did I ever mention that when we were at the Seminole Hotel in Florida many years ago, I was working out on the Elliptical and happened to be watching closed circuit TV of a chef of one of the many restaurants in the resort and he was making risotto. From the looks of the quantity it may have been for four people, but I kid you not, he put in an entire POUND of butter at the end. No wonder restaurant risotto is so rich! I almost fell off my machine! Your risotto looks so creamy it definitely doesn’t need any extra butter and the Parmigiano is the perfect finish! Thyme also pairs so well with the earthy flavour of mushrooms. I love the stages photos too, they’re great for first timers.

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    • Hi Eva, and no, I don’t recall your story about the pound of butter in the risotto…that actually doesn’t sound too good to me. I can see why it might make one fall off of an elliptical trainer, LOL! And there I was feeling so indulgent because I put a whole 2 tablespoons in mine. 🙂 So glad you like the sound of this…it would make a good dinner to warm up with amidst all that snow you’re having up there.

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    • Oooh, wild chanterelle would be divine in this! I had a bit less of a selection at the market than I’d hoped, but it turned out great and really any mix of fresh mushrooms is good. The wild ones are much more flavorful, though. I do hope you’ll revisit making risotto. All it takes is some good stock and a little bit of patience. 😉

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  2. “of a few fine ingredients, allowing each one to shine through” – so true, so true! as in your recipe, simple is delicious and using great mushrooms is certainly as great way to showcase them

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    • I agree. I think risotto is a great way to showcase mushrooms, too. So often they get overwhelmed in other dishes even though they add a lot of flavor at the same time. Their earthiness is worth exploring where they are a featured ingredient for sure. 🙂 Thanks, Claire!

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    • HI Mandy! We are now back up in the 70’s again…just so crazy. Everyone’s calling it the bi-polar vortex! Thank you for your kind comment and I’m glad you like the looks of my risotto. Hope you had a great weekend. 🙂

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  3. I’ve spent most of the winter working away on roasts, soups and stews and it’s nice to be reminded how perfect a mushroom risotto can be for a rainy, grey (and cold) winter day. I hope you have a relaxing weekend planned and that you’ll be experiencing some of the warm weather that I hear is hitting the south around Tuesday. I cannot wait!

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  4. Sorry to hear it’s become cold again; your Spring does seem a long time in coming. I love risotto too and yes, they all require so few ingredients yet you’d never know it; there’s always so much flavour. I love wild mushroom risotto and yours looks very inviting indeed xx

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    • It’s kind of bi-polar weather…it was cold on Thursday, then zoomed up into the 70’s this weekend and today, then will get cold again this Thursday, then warm up again. Truly crazy. So glad you like my risotto, Charlie, and thanks for your comment.

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  5. Oh, Betsy! Your risotto is calling my name. It looks so luscious and creamy, just as a fine risotto should. Late last Spring, I learned that my fishmonger carries porcini mushrooms but you have to get there early to beat the restaurants to them. I didn’t make it last year but have vowed to do so this year and have been dreaming of mushroom risotto ever since. Your post re-ignited my craving. In fact, maybe I should pay my fishmonger a visit, bring him a little gift. Porcini season is coming, you know. 😉

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    • Porcini mushrooms would be so divine in risotto. I do hope you get some this Spring, John, and that you’ll post the resulting dish. Yes, I think a gift to the fishmonger is the ticket. Never hurts, and in the meantime who knows what wonderful fishes he may find for you while you await the porcini season! 😉 And thank you for your kind words about my risotto…that is super high praise, coming from a master such as yourself. You made my day! 🙂

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    • I’ve had the same issues in photographing risotto, especially since it always seems to be at night. I just got lucky and these were taken with my iPhone camera, which corrects a multitude of sins. 🙂 Thanks Chica!

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  6. Mangia, Mangia! Your risotto is made with lots of love and a bit of time. Slowly cooked and perfectly comforting. My teenagers are not big fans of mushrooms so might give your caramelised onion risotto with your aged balsamic vinegar risotto a try. Have a super week. Take Care, BAM

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    • You know, my husband is actually not a huge fan of mushrooms, but he lapped up this risotto, and the little bit leftover, and wanted more! Still, I get it with the teenagers. The mere sight of a mushroom would be enough to turn them off, so yes, go with the caramelized onion and balsamic version for sure! Thanks, BAM, and I hope you have a great weekend.

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