Porcini Mushroom Risotto
This is one of those recipes that is made with love over the stove top. But, if you are looking for something quick, this is not the dinner to make tonight. For this recipe, patience is truly a virtue. The gentle and slow cooking of this Porcini Mushroom Risotto is well worth the wait. I promise.
I used dried Porcini mushrooms for this recipe, however you can use fresh or a different type of mushroom if you like. If you are using fresh mushrooms, you will want to eliminate the water needed to re-hydrate the mushrooms. And if you don’t like mushrooms at all, you can skip them and add seafood.
Risotto isn’t something that’s ready in 10 minutes. Patience is needed as the rice takes some time to cook to at least “al dente”. This Mushroom Risotto took about one hour and thirty minutes to prepare from start to finish. You will also want to leave some time to allow the risotto to cool down before you wolf it down! Otherwise, you will burn your mouth.
As well, this is one of those dishes that taste better as it sits or tastes good as leftovers the next day or the day after that.
Tips and Tricks to Making the Best Mushroom Risotto
Re-Hydrating Dried Mushrooms
Before you get started, if you are using dried mushrooms make sure that you soak them in water at a ratio of 1:1 water vs. mushrooms. This should provide enough liquid to re-hydrate the mushrooms. Use your common sense to determine if more liquid is needed. Before you actually use the mushrooms in the pan, you are going to drain them. Therefore, if you added too much water don’t panic, we can just drain it. Soak the mushrooms for at least 30 minutes.
The Difference between Risotto and Boiled Rice
So what’s the difference between Risotto and Boiled Rice? Well, boiled rice is just that, it’s boiled in water. Or sometimes, people boil rice in stock or other seasoning like Vegetta until it is cooked. When you boil rice, you usually use it as a side dish.
Risotto is more of a main dish. Usually, people add meat, seafood, mushrooms or vegetables to the rice and slow cook it over the stove. Liquid is added as the rice expands. For a liquid, you can use tomato sauce, stock, cheese, milk, water etc.
What Kind of Rice do I use to Make Risotto?
To make the perfect risotto, you’ll need a rice with a high starch content. The higher the starch content, the creamier the rice will be. For the perfect risotto you will need either short grain rice or arborio rice. Do not, for the love of Pete, use long grain rice! I used rice like the following here.
Selecting the Right Pot for Cooking your Risotto
Remember that as the rice cooks, it will double in size. Therefore, you need to select a pot that can accommodate the rice once it’s fully cooked. Keep in mind that you will also be adding mushrooms or seafood, etc… I usually use a frypan that is large enough that will accommodate the expanded and cooked rice. I also ensure that I have a lid that I am able to place on the frypan to cook the rice properly.
Remember two things:
- You want to select a pan large enough so that the rice doesn’t boil over, and
- You want to have a lid for the pot/pan so that it doesn’t take you 3 hours to cook the risotto.
To Wine or Not to Wine?
This isn’t a must, but a dry white wine added to the risotto and cooked off before you start adding the water brings a nice acidity to the dish. If you don’t want to use wine, you can substitute the wine for lemon juice or even apple cider vinegar. Add the wine or lemon juice to the mushrooms and rice in the pan and let it evaporate before adding the water or stock.
Cooking Risotto Perfectly
Once the mushrooms have softened somewhat, add the rice and stir. Let the rice cook and toast slightly for about a minute. Add the wine or lemon juice to the saucepan. Once the wine or lemon juice have evaporated start adding sufficient liquid so that the rice can cook and expand. You don’t want to burn the rice. The mixture should look soupy to start, the rice will expand and then you will need to add more water/liquid as the rice continues to cook and expand. You would repeat this cycle until the rice is fully cooked. Do not leave the rice unattended.
How do I Know When the Risotto is Ready?
You can expect it to take at least an hour until the Risotto is cooked perfectly. The Risotto shouldn’t be mushy or overcooked. It should be “al dente”. This means that it should be slightly hard, but not to break a tooth.
As you add liquid, taste the rice to determine how much longer the rice will need to cook. Add liquid, taste, repeat until the rice is cooked to your satisfaction.
For a little extra creaminess, add cheese to the pot at the end and stir. That’s it! Are you hungry yet? Scroll down to get the recipe details and enjoy!
Store leftovers in an airtight container for a maximum of three days. You can also freeze for later.
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- In a large skillet, heat up the ghee and soften the chopped onion.
- Add the re-hydrated mushrooms with the liquid to the pan and simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine and allow the alcohol (not the liquid) to evaporate.
- Add the bouillon cube and the rice and stir. Add all other spices. Do not add any additional salt until the end of the cooking process. This will avoid over-salting. Add more liquid if needed - about 1/2 cup of water at a time to allow the rice to absorb the water, expand and cook.
- Cook the risotto covered, but with the lid slightly ajar. Just jam a spoon in the lid to allow the steam to escape. This allows the rice to absorb the flavor of the mushrooms.
- Repeat until the rice is al dente or fully cooked. Add about 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese at the end and mix well.