Creamy and fragrant, mushroom risotto is a classic specialty of Italian cuisine. It is the main dish typical of the autumn period that fully falls into the category of comfort foods that can warm and pamper those who savor it. Risotto ai Funghi is a timeless first course, it is not in vain considered an autumn dish par excellence.
The mushroom risotto can be prepared with fresh or dried mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms will make risotto more delicate, while dried mushrooms will give the risotto a more intense aroma. As the Italians call it, Risotto ai Funghi, is a typical first course of Italian cuisine, which can be made with different varieties of mushrooms, typically chanterelles or porcini mushrooms.
Mushroom recipes are a must for the fall season! Wondering what is the secret of this Italian “squisito” dish? It is surely the broth made of dried mushrooms. No other broth can make it smoother, more perfumed, and mouth-watering than the dried mushrooms broth. Fasten your apron, let’s prepare this scrumptious and flavorous mushroom risotto, creamed to perfection!
The Ingredients for mushroom risotto or Risotto ai Funghi?
As a first, you will need rice. I strongly recommend the Italian short-grain types such as Carnaroli, Arborio, Nano, or Baldo. This kind of rice will not absorb liquid to saturation because of the high content of starch, a thing that will result in a sticky, consistent risotto. This is how you get the “al dente” effect. Another trick I will share with you today is: NEVER wash or rinse the rice. The starch “skin” of rice is the one making risotto sticky and creamy. You don’t want to wash that off. By doing so, you just reduce your chances to perfect mushroom risotto. Now you know the secret. Go kill them with deliciousness 🙂
Then, mushrooms, of course, are the “must on the list” ingredient of this dish. In this recipe, I have used the best quality dried mushrooms, an absolute special ingredient of many other tasty Italian recipes such as tagliatelle, chicken with mushrooms, or lasagna.
The dried mushrooms will be the base for the broth. In some countries, it is eaten alone or with homemade pasta or stuffed ravioli. This type of broth has a very strong taste, a beautiful color that reminds coffee, and an aroma that brings to mind the earth, the moss, and the autumn period. A real delicacy for gourmets.
You’ll need some butter to have the rice fried along with one medium onion and a few garlic cloves. Salt and pepper, the omnipresent brothers. One glass of dry white wine to add an extra aroma to the risotto. It will evaporate, no alcohol will be left inside, the kids can enjoy it too 🙂
Parmesan. No Italian risotto can leave out parmesan. Risotto ai funghi is no exception.
Bacon is an excellent top for the risotto, especially when it’s crunchy and greasy. Some parsley leaves will add freshness and beauty to the dish when served. This is one of those dishes that deserve to be served elegantly, please do.
How to prepare the mushroom broth?
Soak the mushrooms for at least 1 hour. Overnight is best, but who has all that time, right? After the elapsed time, add one sliced carrot, 3 medium onions, and some parts of celery roots. Mix well and cook them over medium heat in 4 cups of water.
When the water starts boiling, lower the heat and cook for extra 25 minutes with the lid on.
When done, remove the mushrooms from the broth to have them sliced later. Also, take out the boiled vegetables, they’ve left their aroma in the broth, their job is done here. You can use a strainer for a clearer soup.
What else can I use the mushroom stock for?
If you want to make a tasty soup, use this broth instead of water. Add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and cook all together. This is one of the most savory and perfumed soups humanity could ever invent. Thank God for that!
The following mushroom stock tip is for those who wondered how in the world do the fancy restaurant chefs make the damn delicious mushroom sauce. Well, now you know, they use this exact mushroom stock as a base for the sauce. Thicken broth with cream and flour and serve the sauce to accompany meat dishes.
How to prepare mushroom risotto?
Put the butter in a skillet, let it warm, and melt. Finely chop the onion and garlic and let it simmer in the oil until transparent. That will take about 10 minutes. Keep the stove temperature low, you’ll never get the transparent onion if your stove is running at medium or high.
Add the chopped in half mushrooms to skillet and stir well. Let the aromas combine for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir again. The butter from the skillet will be soaked by the rice. Add salt and pepper. Black and white pepper will make a perfect combination for the rice dish.
It is now the right time to pour a glass of dry white wine over the glazing rice. You should add it before the broth, otherwise, the rice will absorb the broth to its saturation and the wine will have no effect on the risotto taste.
When the alcohol has completely evaporated, add ¼ cup of mushroom broth. Cover the skillet and let the rice soak in the broth. Then add a little more, let simmer, then add a little more, then let simmer… you got it. Gradually add the broth. If the broth is not enough, add some water.
When the rice is finished cooking, add the grated Parmesan cheese and stir the risotto. Move the skillet from the stove and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle the risotto with the chopped parsley and serve. As I said before, you can top it with crusty crunchy fried bacon.
Try this recipe for a family lunch or a gourmet dinner, it will definitely fit any occasion. Conquer your guests with refined mushroom risotto and make them ask for bis and shout “Buonissimo”!
How to serve the mushroom risotto or Risotto ai Funghi?
Perfect mushroom risotto is the one served “al dente” and “all’onda”. Let’s take it one at a time.
“Al dente” means that it must not be completely “cooked”, it has to be soft, but must retain some internal hardness. The cooking must still leave something to chew to the tooth, and therefore, it is not necessary to overcook the dish.
“All’onda” is translated as “waved risotto”. The term is referring to the cooking of risottos. It means that the risotto must remain rather liquid, with the grains well detached, but tied together by a creamy whole. A type of risotto that is neither too loose nor too dry. Buon Appetito!
- 2 oz dried mushrooms
- 1 medium carrot
- 3 medium onions
- 1/2 medium celery root
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup rice
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 cups mushroom stock
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup white dry wine
- black and white pepper
Top Mushroom Risotto
- 8 slices fried bacon
- some parsley
- Soak the mushrooms for at least 1 hour in 2 cups water
- Peel of and slice 1 carrot, 3 medium onions and some parts of celery roots
- Combine all together and put it to boil
- When the water starts boiling, lower the heat and cook for extra 25 minutes with the lid on
- Remove the mushrooms from the broth
- Take out the boiled vegetables, you can throw them to the bin
- Use a strainer to clear the broth
- Chop the boiled mushrooms in halves, set aside for later
- Put 2 tbs butter in a skillet, let it warm and melt
- Finely chop the onion and garlic. Let simmer on low heat until transparent
- Add the chopped mushrooms and stir well for about 2 minutes
- Add the rice and stir again. Let it soak the grease
- Add salt and pepper
- Pour 1/2 cup of dry white wine. Let it evaporate
- Add ¼ cup of mushroom broth, stir and cover pan
- Gradually add 1/4 cup until all broth is absorbed
- Add grated parmesan
- Remove skillet from stove. Let it rest for 2 minutes
- Top mushroom Risotto plate with fried bacon and fresh chopped parsley