Thursday Dinner: Mushroom Risotto

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I have made mushroom risotto here before without thinking much about it. Usually what happens is that I sweat some mushrooms, make a basic risotto, and combine them at some point.

What I liked about this offering from Closet Cooking was that it took the mushrooms more seriously than the rice. You actually create a mushroom broth to supplement the flavor of the risotto. The recipe is for a true mushroom risotto, rather than just a risotto with mushrooms.

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One quick note: vegetable stock could easily be substituted for the chicken broth to make this a truly vegetarian dish.

WHAT WORKED: I go back to the mushroom stock, which really added a rich, earthy flavor to the rice.

WHAT DIDN’T: About that mushroom stock. I made it with dried porcinis, which sell for $4.99 per half-ounce at my Wegmans. One must pay for quality. One must also find a different source for dried mushrooms.

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WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: I honestly don’t remember.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes. This is such a versatile dish. We ate as a meal, but this would be a simple, elegant side when cooking for a crowd.

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Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 16 oz. sliced mushrooms (NOTE: I used a blend of porcini and white button)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Liberal pinch of herbes de provence
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

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Bring the first measure of stock to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat, add the dried mushrooms, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

2014-10-16 at 16-58-04In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the diced onion. Cook the onion until it is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sweat, letting them cook in their own released juices for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and herbes de provence, stir together, and cook 1 minute.

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In the meantime, use a slotted spoon to transfer the dried mushrooms to a bowl. Squeeze the mushrooms, wringing out any liquid into the pan of stock. Chop up the squeezed mushrooms and combine with the other mushrooms.

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Add the rice to the mushrooms and cook until it browns and releases a nutty scent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir the rice until the wine has been absorbed.

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Begin transferring the stock to the rice, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring in until it absorbed. Add the butter and cheese, stirring in until the butter is melted. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper, and serve hot.

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