Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms
Dried mushrooms are a convenient and delicious ingredient enjoyed in many dishes in Italy year-round. However, come fall, nothing beats a creamy risotto enriched with the earthy, savory aroma and texture of fresh porcini mushrooms. In the Ruffoni household, good-quality rice, homemade stock and a copper risotto pan are always at the ready. When friends and family go mushroom picking, they all enjoy the season’s bounty together. For a vegetarian version of this dish, replace the beef stock with vegetable stock.
- 4 to 6 fresh or 1 1/2 oz. (50 g) dried porcini mushrooms
- Extra-virgin olive oil as needed
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) white wine
- 6 1/3 cups (50 fl. oz./1.5 l) beef stock, or as need, warmed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 oz. (100 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated, plus more for serving
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for serving
If using dried mushrooms, soak them in lukewarm water for 1 hour to rehydrate them, then drain and discard the soaking water. Coarsely chop the mushrooms. If using fresh mushrooms, scrape the stems with a paring knife, removing any hard and woody parts, and brush off all the dirt. Cut the stems into small cubes and slice the tops.
In a chef’s pan over low heat, warm a little olive oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes; do not allow it to brown.
Add the rice and the rehydrated dried mushrooms, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice smells warm and toasty and the edges become slightly translucent, about 3 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium and add the wine, stirring frequently until the alcohol evaporates. (The wine will leave behind a delicious flavor and balance the acidity in the rice.) Add a ladleful of stock and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
If using fresh mushrooms, add the cubed stems. Add another ladleful of stock and cook, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time, cooking and stirring until the liquid is absorbed, until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Add the sliced mushroom tops, reserving a few slices for garnish. Add another ladleful of stock, cooking and stirring until absorbed, then repeat with a final ladleful of stock.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley. Let the risotto rest for 1 to 2 minutes, then divide among wide, shallow bowls. Top with the reserved mushroom slices and a grinding of pepper. Serve immediately and pass more Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table. Serves 4.
Recipe courtesy of the Ruffoni family