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Wild Mushroom Risotto

October 17, 2012

When the temperature starts to drop, I get very excited about cool-weather fare. I love a comforting braise, a warm bowl of soup or a steaming bowl of pasta. Last week was our anniversary and we celebrated by going out to dinner over the weekend but I wanted to cook a nice weeknight meal on our actual anniversary. Nothing fancy but something a little nicer than our usual weeknight fare (which is oftentimes NOT blogworthy!). We both love mushrooms so wild mushroom risotto seemed like the perfect meal. It’s packed with flavor and not too fussy but requires enough effort to say “I love you so much I spent time stirring risotto at the stove on a Wednesday night!” Now that’s true love. To make the dish even a little more special, I added some truffle oil at the end which really amps up the mushroom flavor.

A simple risotto is a fairly quick weeknight meal but all the mushrooms here take some time to clean and chop. Alltold this takes about an hour so it’s probably more of a weekend dinner than weeknight, at least for my schedule. Some people are turned off by the thought of doing risotto but it can be great for a casual dinner party, especially for a vegetarian. Serve appetizers in the kitchen, pour everyone a glass of wine, and stand around stirring the risotto chatting with your friends. Sounds good to me!

Since truffle oil gives the risotto a richness, I cut back on the amount of Parmesan. If you don’t use the truffle oil, I would increase the Parmesan to one cup to give the risotto a little more creaminess and richness.

Wild Mushroom Risotto
adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook
serves 6

8 cups chicken stock
1/2 oz (about 1/2 cup) dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound fresh wild mushrooms such as oyster, shiitake, trumpet or chanterelle, thinly sliced
1/2 pound cremini or baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
3 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
1 cup dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (if using truffle oil, use 1/2 cup, otherwise use 1 cup)
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons truffle oil, plus more for drizzling
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Put dried porcini mushrooms in a large bowl and ladle about 3/4 of the stock over the mushrooms. Leave remaining stock in pan and turn heat to low or off. Let porcini soak for 20 minutes. Place a strainer lined with two layers of cheesecloth, thick paper towels or a coffee filter over the saucepan with the remaining stock and drain porcini to catch any grit from the mushrooms. Gently press against the mushrooms to catch any extra stock. Chop the porcini and set aside. Bring stock back to a simmer over medium heat then maintain at a gentle simmer over low heat.

In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté about 2 minutes then add garlic and cook for one minute more.  Add all the fresh mushrooms and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the porcini and half the chopped parsley.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly and thickened.  Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the rice to the pan and stir until each grain has a white dot in the center and is translucent, about 3-4 minutes.  Adjust the heat so the rice doesn’t burn.  Add the wine to the rice and stir until completely absorbed.

Add the warm stock to the rice one ladleful at a time (about 3/4 cup per ladleful), stirring almost constantly after each addition.  Wait until stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful.  When you’ve used up about 2/3 of the stock, add the mushroom mixture to the rice and continue adding stock by the ladleful.

Once the rice is tender, stir in the Parmesan and butter.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Since different brands of truffle oil can have varying levels of strength, add truffle oil 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the flavor suits your taste.

Serve risotto in a shallow bowl or plate, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and, if you like, a small drizzle of truffle oil.

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