Risotto has got to be one of the most comforting foods in the world. How could a steaming bowl of creamy, flavorful rice not cheer you up on a rainy night? In this recipe, a very basic risotto is transformed into something special by stirring in a blend of quickly seared wild mushrooms. The mushrooms are added to the risotto at the end of cooking to allow them to retain their strong flavor and meaty texture. Use any wild mushrooms that are in season or that you can find. Chanterelle, hedgehog, oyster, shiitake and crimini mushrooms are all delicious. Depending on what you use, your mushroom risotto could be humble enough for an average weeknight or fancy enough for a holiday dinner.
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Wild Mushroom Risotto
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6 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and halved or thickly sliced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup italian parsley, chopped
3 shallots, minced
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cooking Instructions

Place the vegetable stock in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep simmering while you prepare the risotto.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and any liquid given off by the mushrooms has evaporated (about 5 minutes.) Season with salt and pepper as the mushrooms are cooking. When cooked, stir in the parsley and then transfer the cooked mushrooms to a bowl. Chop about half of the mushrooms.

Add the shallots, 1 tablespoon of the butter and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil the same pot. Cook the shallots over medium heat, stirring often, until softened (3 to 5 minutes.) Add the rice and cook the rice in the oil for about 2 minutes, stirring to coat it evenly with the oil (do not let the rice brown.) Add the white wine and chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine is almost completely absorbed. Using a measuring cup, measure out approximately 1/2 cup of the simmering stock and add it to the rice. As with the wine before, stir constantly while the rice is absorbing the stock. When the stock is nearly absorbed, measure out another 1/2 cup of stock, add it to the rice, and repeat the steps as before. Continue this process until all of the stock has been used or until the rice is creamy and cooked through (15 to 20 minutes.) Remove from heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, the remaining mushrooms and the parmesan cheese. Serve the risotto garnished with a sprinkling of additional chopped parsley if desired.

Makes 4 servings



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Be sure to stir the rice constantly during cooking to keep it from cooking unevenly or clumping together. Also, serve the risotto immediately once it is done. If it sits in the pot too long, it tends to become clumpy or mushy.

If you are making this for a fancy dinner party, instead of mixing the mushrooms into the risotto at the end, pour the risotto out onto a colorful platter and then lay the mushrooms attractively on top. Sprinkle with additional chopped parsley.

Mushrooms are more attractive when they retain a wild, rough look about them. Depending on the type of mushrooms you are using, you can either cut them into halves or chop them into thick slices before cooking. Some mushrooms, such as chanterelles, can actually just be torn in half.

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