CLASSIC pasta risotto con fungi (porcini)









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Here are two, basic mushroom risottos: one with regular mushrooms such as crimini; and one with dried porcini.


  • two cups of Arborio rice (or the two other approved varieties)
  • five to six cups of chicken stock
  • one small onion, finely diced
  • four tablespoons of olive oil
  • one tablespoon fresh thyme
  • one tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • one-half cup dry white wine
  • one-half cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • one tablespoon of butter
  • salt and pepper

for the mushrooms:

option (a): one pound of white, crimini, shitake or similar mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, and diced. In a separate saute pan, in two tablespoons of melted butter, saute the mushrooms until they start to exude their juices, two to three minutes. Set aside.

option (b): one and one-half ounces of dried porcini mushrooms. A half hour before starting, put the dried porcini in a cup of hot water. Remove the porcini and save the liquid. Squeeze the porcini dry, and get rid of any grit that remains. Chop coarsely.

to cook: (a more detailed and elaborate description of the risotto cooking technique can be found at how to cook risotto).

Bring the stock to a slow simmer in a pan next to the risotto pan. In a thick-bottomed pan (the risotto pan), over medium-high heat: add the olive oil. Add the onion and the herbs. Cook until soft. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated with the oil. Add the white wine. Cook and stir until it is absorbed by the rice, about two minutes. Add salt. Now add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, only adding another ladle when the previous ladle of liquid has been absorbed, stirring almost all of the time.

(option b) Half-way, at about ten minutes, use the reserved porcini liquid in place of a half cup of stock, add the porcini and stir them in the risotto thoroughly.

(option a) A little longer than above, about fifteen to eighteen minutes, quickly reheat the mushrooms and then add them to the risotto, stirring thoroughly.

Continue adding the ladles of stock until the rice is properly done: twenty minutes or so.

Determine proper doneness by tasting regularly. When it is just al dente, with a little creaminess, it is ready.

Take off the heat. Stir in the parmesan, and the tablespoon of butter. Taste for salt and pepper.  We let it sit, covered, for a minute or two. Serve with a sprig of parsley for garnish.



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