Risotto With Wild And Exotic Mushrooms

Whenever I find some interesting mushrooms in the store, I think of making this dish. It’s better as a first course than as an entree; that’s how the Italians eat it. The flavor is bigger than you expect, and that little touch of white truffle oil at the end (optional) makes it outrageously good.

  • Risotto (can do in advance):
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. wild or exotic mushrooms: porcini, shiitakes, chanterelles, morels, etc., sliced
  • 2 Tbs. brandy
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. softened butter
  • 1 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs. white truffle oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a light boil.

2. Meanwhile, in another saucepan skillet over medium-high heat, heat the butter until it bubbles. Add the rice. Stir the rice and butter and cook until you see the first hint of browning.

3. Lower the heat to the lowest setting. Add the chicken stock and salt to the rice. Stir the mixture for two or three minutes, until the starch in the rice is visibly dissolving into the liquid.

4. Cover the saucepan and put it into a preheated 375-degree oven for 20 minutes. If most of the liquid has been absorbed (some small puddles of liquid are okay), return the saucepan to an unheated stovetop. Stir the rice until it begins to create a thick, starchy matrix between the grains. Leave uncovered. (If you’re making the rice in advance, dump it onto a metal pan and spread it out to cool.)

5. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the onions and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften.

6. Add the brandy and wine and bring the mixture to a light boil. Keep it bubbling for about a minute. Add the chicken stock and return to a boil. Add the cooked rice and stir lightly with a kitchen fork until the mushrooms are uniformly distributed.

7. Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese with a kitchen fork until well blended. Serve with a light drizzle of white truffle oil at the table.

Serves eight appetizers or four entrees.

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