Last week I’d made a delicious roasted chicken for dinner, and being the frugal girl that I am – couldn’t let that chicken carcass go in the trash can without making a batch of chicken stock with it first. When menu planning for that week I took stock of what I had in the pantry before heading to the store to do my weekly grocery stock-up. I had a full package of arborio rice, and a bunch of samples of different varieties of dried mushrooms that the good folks at Marx Gourmet Foods had sent me – so I put mushroom risotto on the lineup.
I ended up making it on a cold, rainy evening…and this filling meal couldn’t have been more perfect. I’ve gone on before about how wonderful dried mushrooms are to keep around. They add so much flavor to whatever dish you use them for, and they never go bad in the pantry. While I’d say porcini is my hands down favorite, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the matsutake. They were lighter in flavor, almost floral. I’d imagine they would be absolutely perfect in a big batch of homemade ramen noodles! But, if you can’t find them – don’t sweat it. The dried porcinis alone, combined with the earthy flavors of the sauteed fresh mushrooms will give more than enough flavor to this dish!
The stirring necessary is a little bit time consuming, but take if you take the time to enjoy a glass of wine (that you’ve been forced to open for the dish!)…it makes it a little more fun, and the time pass quicker. And the result you’ll get in the end is so worth it! A thick, rich, and creamy dish – that is just bursting with flavor. Great for my gluten-free friends, and could easily be made into a vegetarian dish by using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. I’ve only made one other risotto in the past, but I’m looking forward to trying some different recipes in the future!
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 ounce dried matsutake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, minced
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
6 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup white wine
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (warm)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Cover the dried porcini mushrooms in the boiling water and let sit 30 minutes. Strain through a coffee strainer to remove and grit, reserving the soaking liquid. Pour reserved liquid into chicken stock warming on stove. Roughly chop the dried mushrooms and set aside.
Melt the butter and olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms and saute until they turn tender and have released their liquids and are starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute longer. Add chopped dried mushrooms and toss to combine. Remove the mushroom mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Add the rice to the hot pan and toast until it starts to turn translucent, about 1-3 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon until the wine has been soaked up by the rice.
Add the warm stock to the sauce pan 1 cup at a time while stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat process until you’ve used all the stock and the rice is nice and tender to the bite.
Add the butter and Parmesan and stir until it’s combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley just before serving.
Source: adapted from Back to Basics by Ina Garten