why, hello.

I’ve always wanted to make risotto – but it had always seemed like a recipe I would have to conquer, instead of just make. It seemed intense with all that standing over the stove, the constant stirring for 20 minutes. Ok, perhaps I was just lazy. Anyways, I finally decided yesterday to make Mushroom Risotto – and it turned out pretty well, I think. It was thick and creamy, the rice still had a bite to it, but the mushroom flavor could have been more pronounced. As my boyfriend said, “I would not be disappointed if I were served this in a restaurant” – that’s a pretty good review, right?

I adapted a recipe by Tyler Florence, combined with a couple of Gourmet recipes….er, basically, I followed a basic risotto recipe but wung it when it came to details. If I were to make this again (and I probably will), I would probably put in the dried porchini mushrooms that Tyler Florence called for, to get more mushroomy goodness. This was an easy, if slightly labor-intensive, dish and well worth the end results.

Mushroom Risotto

  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 (large) garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound fresh portobello and crimini mushrooms, sliced into smallish chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

Chop up all of your ingredients before you start cooking – because once you start, you don’t really stop. Make yourself a nice little assembly line of ingredients. In the meantime, heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a dutch oven, or similarly sized large pot. Add the onion and saute until it’s translucent. Add the garlic, and saute briefly (you want to smell it, but don’t burn it). Add the mushrooms, bay leaves, thyme, butter, and a bit of salt and pepper. Make sure everything is coated in the melted butter. Saute for 3-5 minutes until mushrooms are slightly browned.

mushrooms, onions, and herbs

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the middle of the pot (make a little space in the middle of the mushrooms). Add 2 cups of rice, stirring quickly until all grains are well-coated with remaining butter/oil in the pot and is opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup white wine and scrape up all the crusty bits at the bottom of the pot with your spatula.  Cook until the wine is nearly all evaporated.

Your broth should be warm by now. With a large ladle, add about 1 cup of broth (2 ladle-fulls) to the rice/mushroom mixture. Stir constantly until the rice has just absorbed the liquid (a few bubbles of broth on the side are ok). Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. On your last ladle-fulls, it won’t look like the rice will absorb the broth – don’t worry, it will. Be patient and keep stirring – patience is essential for achieving maximum creaminess in the end product. From start to finish, the cooking part took about 30 minutes.

rice and mushrooms, after the first broth addition
rice and mushrooms, after the first broth addition

After the last bit of broth has been almost absorbed, test the risotto – the grains should be slightly firm, not mushy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add 1/2 cup (or more) parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, stirring until the cheese is melted. If you’d like, garnish each serving with more cheese and parsley on top.

At the end, it should look like picture at the top of the post. By the way, this makes an obscene amount of risotto – we have leftovers for a few days, and we froze some – so you could halve the recipe if you wanted less.