Photograph by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Magical Mushroom Risotto

Mains from Issue 6 – Fall / Winter 2015 – Magic

Mushrooms are rooted in magic. That there are also certain fungi strains that will quite literally take you on a trip only adds to their magnetism. Though our risotto—a dish whose methodical stovetop evolution is itself spellbinding—uses mushrooms of the non-psychotropic variety, its effects are nonetheless palate-bending.

serves 4

  • ¾ oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ lb mixed wild mushrooms such as maitake, chanterelle or shittake, torn into small clusters if large
  • 2 tsp thyme, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano

  • 1

    Soak dried porcini in a bowl with 3 cups hot water. After 20 minutes, lift porcini from soaking liquid, squeezing out any excess water. Pour off and reserve 2 cups of soaking liquid leaving behind any settled grit from the mushrooms. Finely chop the mushrooms and set aside.

  • 2

    Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook fresh mushrooms, in batches if necessary, until golden and crisp. Add the thyme and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

  • 3

    Heat together the chicken broth and reserved mushroom liquid. Keep warm while making risotto.

  • 4

    In a medium saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp butter and remaining 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add porcini and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. (You’ll be stirring constantly until the risotto is done.)
    Add wine and simmer until absorbed. Pour in 1 cup hot broth and cook until almost absorbed. Continue adding broth, about ¾ cup at a time, cooking until broth is absorbed then adding more, until risotto is creamy and the rice is tender but still has a little bite. (You will have used about 5 cups of broth.) Stir in the cheese and remaining 3 Tbsp butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • 5

    Serve risotto immediately with sautéed mushrooms piled on top.