Porcini Mushroom Risotto

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Ah… Risotto. Learn how to make one and you’ll be able to make them all. This is one of my favorite, especially with fresh porcini mushroom. And it’s a good fist-risotto to learn. I remember when I was a kid, on spring and autumn weekends, going with my dad in the countryside around Rome, looking for these authentic gems of the woods. You need humid weather, with warm sun peaking out

Chestnuts and oak forests are one of the best places to find them. Look under the leaves, near the trees… And remember to show them to someone who knows mushroom, to make sure they are edible.
For this recipe I used dried porcini, the flavor is different, probably more intense, but you can find them all year round. Keep a pack in the pantry and have them ready any time you want. No matter the season. I also added some fresh cremini, to add the mushroom texture and refresh the taste. They also look very good when you cook them. I made sure to pick only the very small ones, so pretty…
Let’s get started. And remember, never to stop stirring your risotto. This is one of the most important things for a good one. This recipe is for a lot of risotto, you’ll probably have leftovers, unless you had a lot of friends for dinner.

I usually use what’s left to make “Supplí”, deep fried rice balls filled with mozzarella, a specialty from Rome. They are usually made with tomato/basil or Bolognese sauce rice. But made with porcini mushroom risotto they are pretty damn good, filled with French goat cheese…  Click here for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 50g of dry Porcini mushroom or 3/4 lbs of fresh ones
  • 1/4 lbs of fresh small Cremini mushroom
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 80g butter
  • 1 lbs Vialone Nano, Carnaroli Extra or Arborio rice
  • 1 medium yellow onion (or shallots)
  • 2 garlic cloves (remove them after cooking)
  • 1/2 glass of red wine
  • Pepper
  • 2 stock cubes (or 2 lt of stock)

Start by placing the dry mushroom in a large cup of warm water and allow 10 min for them to get soft. Put a pot on the stove with approx 2 liters of water, add the dark water of the mushroom (it’s full of flavor and will make the risotto better) and two stock cubes to the water (I prefer vegetable stock, no monosodium glutamate) and bring it to boil. Even better if you have time to make a light stock (recipe soon), but for us who live in the city, time is never on our side.

Chop the onion (or shallots) and put it in a large pot with the butter. Turn the flame on to medium-low, let the butter melt and the onion get soft.
Add the rice and toast it lightly (this will allow the starch of the rice to come out during the cooking). Once the rice starts to get darker and the onion starts to melt, add the red wine and let it evaporate completely. Keep stirring, never stop.


At this point, add the mushroom, half of the parsley, the two garlic cloves and some black pepper. Wait 3 minutes, then start adding the stock, two ladles at a time, give it time to evaporate, before adding more. The rice should always be pretty firm, never too watery. If it dries up, add more stock. At this point, the risotto is almost done. Keep stirring and adding stock until the rice is cooked. Remember to keep it “al dente”.
Once the rice is done, remove the garlic cloves, add the remaining parsley and 5 spoonfuls of Parmigiano Reggiano, keep stirring and let it rest for 5 minutes. Add it to the plates and bring it to table. Yum!

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