Here is my pick for I Heart Cooking Clubs theme of the week, Rice is Nice. This recipe, Risotto ai Funghi/Wild Mushroom Risotto uses Arborio (Risotto) Rice and is from Tessa Kiros' book, Twelve. I recently purchased this book since we still have a few more months to cook Tessa's recipes, and this is the first recipe I've tried. I always love trying a first recipe from a new cookbook, not sure why, it just feels a little special for some reason :)
Risotto ai Funghi / Wild Mushroom Risotto
adapted from Tessa Kiros -- Twelve
20g (3/4 oz) dried, wild mushrooms, optional -- I used a 1 ounce package of dried porcini mushrooms
300 g (10 and 1/2 oz) fresh wild mushrooms, such as porcini and chantrelle or Swiss Brown mushrooms -- I used 10 and 1/2 ounces "Baby Bella" mushrooms, I found these in a huge pack at Sam's Club
6 cups vegetable stock or water
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, peel and finely chopped -- I left off the onion, not an onion fan
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped off stalk -- I used about 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 cup white wine
1 lb 2 oz arborio/risotto rice -- I used a 1 lb package of arborio so 2 ounces shy
1 and 3/4 oz butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
a handful of chopped fresh parsley
Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. Drain (save liquid) and chop the mushrooms into pieces. Strain the soaking liquid to add to the risotto. Rinse the fresh mushrooms if necessary and wipe them with paper towels. Slice them finely. Heat the stock in a sauce pan.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and lightly saute the onion on a medium heat. When it has softened slightly, add the garlic, thyme, and the fresh and dried mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, and saute for a few minutes to soften. Add the wine and when it has evaporated, add the rice, stirring to coat. Cook for a minute, lower the heat and add a ladleful or two of the hot stock, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Add the mushroom water or 1 cup of the stock. When the stock has been absorbed, add another ladelful and continue stirring, taking care to gently move all the rice at the bottom of the pan so it doesn't stick.
After about 20 minutes of stirring and adding stock to be absorbed, taste the rice, adjust the seasoning, if necessary. The rice may need another 5 minutes or so. (I needed a little longer than the recipe calls for) It should have a creamy, slightly liquid consistency but still be slightly firm to the bite. Add the butter, the parmesan cheese and the chopped parsley and stir. Serve immediately with extra parmesan cheese if you'd like.
I made this for lunch one day when my mom was visiting. I knew my kids and picky husband wouldn't be game for trying this, but my mom and I thought it was good. I love mushrooms and enjoy risotto but had never had a mushroom risotto before and this was nice. I'm still not too sure if I like the texture of reconstituted mushrooms pieces, but that's just me. It was a nice warm comforting dish with subtle flavors. I think it would be great as a side dish rather than a main dish risotto. I'm looking forward to using the left-overs in pan-fried risotto cakes, or maybe I'll try the fried risotto ball recipe that Tessa has in another of her cookbooks.