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Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

Posted on December 19, 2011.


Risotto is a uniquely Italian dish of rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-based, fish-based, or vegetable-based. Most risottos include some type of cheese, butter, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.

It is best to use a high-starch, short-grain to make risotto. These rice have the ability to absorb liquids and to release starch and are therefore stickier than long grain varieties. There are several varieties, but I prefer a good quality Arborio.

The rice is first cooked at relatively high heat in a saute of onion and olive oil to coat each grain in a light film of fat. This is called toasting, and the objective is to toast the rice until you see a dark spot start to form at the center of each rice kernel. The next step is to add white or red wine and allow it to be fully absorbed by the grains. Finally, a very hot stock is gradually added in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly. The stirring is the most important step because it loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured liquid. At the very end you add butter and finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to create a creamy and smooth texture.

Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy but still with some resistance or bite (al dente). If you prefer a healthier version, you can cut back on the cheese, in fact I sometimes make my risotto without any cheese at all.


1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 onion, chopped
3 celery sticks, diced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
3 handfuls freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 stick butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper


In a pot on medium heat, simmer dried porcini mushrooms in chicken stock for 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms and reserve broth for later use.

In a pre-heated pan on high heat, add olive oil. Then add onion, celery, salt & pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened (about 4-5 minutes).

Mix mushroom into onions. Cook 3-5 minutes.

Stir in 1-1/2 cups of Arborio rice. Continue stirring until rice toasts. When rice is properly toasted, you will notice a golden brown spot start to form in each rice kernel. This will take at least 10 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup white wine and cook until reduced (about 3 minutes).

Ladle in enough chicken broth to barely cover the rice. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep adding more broth and stirring until rice is firm but ready to eat.

Uncover and mix in butter, parsley, and grated Parmesan cheese. Turn off heat and let sit for 3-5 minutes before serving.


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Posted By: Chief Foodie Officer