Last year, I posted my first recipe for a risotto and, in that post, discussed the performance anxiety I used to experience whenever I attempted to make one. Yet despite having conquered that fear, I haven’t made a risotto since then. I really don’t know why.
Yesterday afternoon, however, right after a brief rain shower, it finally began to feel like fall in New York City. And I thought that, after a week of meat-centric dining, a mushroom risotto would be a seasonally welcome change. A cursory cookbook search led me to an easy recipe for a wild mushroom risotto in Giada De Laurentiis’s first cookbook, Everyday Italian.
Because of the the recipe’s proportion of cultivated to dried wild mushrooms (10 ounces to 1/2 ounce respectively), I dropped the word “wild” from the title of my post. Nevertheless, that small quantity of porcini infuses the more affordable white variety with considerable flavor and and complexity.
Being a disciple of Marcella Hazan, I modified the recipe a little. First, I toasted the rice for a couple of minutes, coating it with the fat from the pan. (In fact, the website version of the recipe does the same.) Second, to enrich the finished dish and give it a more creamy texture, I mounted it with a tablespoon of unsalted butter as I added the cheese.
Mushroom Risotto with Peas Adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis Serves 4 as a main dish; 8 as a side.
5 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 -ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup unsalted butter + 1 to 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Cover and set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board and chop fine. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
Melt the 1/4 butter in a heavy large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
Add the white mushrooms and the porcini. Sauté until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or so.
Stir in the rice and let it toast, stirring for a few minutes.
Add the wine; cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes. (The rice may not absorb all of broth.)
Stir in the peas. Remove from the heat.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter (two if you’re not counting calories) and stir in with the Parmigiano Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Here is a link to the Food Network’s recipe and video. (Note that the online version of the recipe calls for 8 cups of broth, which I find to be excessive.)
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir