Risotto is one of the best known Italian recipes but there is something to say about it: Risotto is mostly a cooking technique rather than a specific recipe. You can actually make risotto with any ingredient you like: cheese, wine, sausage, vegetables, mushrooms and so on. There is basically no food wich cannot be used for making a good risotto, which is is pretty good because all of us are allowed to make our own special risotto regardless if we are omnivore, vegetarian or vegan: risotto is for everyone.
There is only one thing that doesn’t change: the technique. The basics are always the same and most importantly, the Rice variety you must use are basically 2: Carnaroli (the best one for risotto, in my opinion) and Arborio. Today I am presenting you my simple and personal interpretation of Risotto ai funghi – Mushrooms Risotto. Simple and tasty.
Note: to make risotto you need to make a broth in advance. This can be made with meat or can be vegetable broth, as you like. Your risotto will be tasty in both cases.
For this recipe I prepared a meat broth by boiling for 3 hours a piece of meat taken from the back legs of the veal (we call it “muscolo”) together with 1 big onion, 1 big carrot and a celery stick. Once the meat was boiled, very soft and tender I have filtered the broth with a colander and let it cool down for 12 hours in the fridge. Then I removed all the fat from the surface, which turned white, and the broth I got was crystal-clear, golden in colour and light.
If you want to make a vegetarian broth you can follow the same procedure by doubling the ingredients: 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 celery stick and you may also add 1 potato. You don’t have to put the vegetable broth in the fridge for 12 hours, just filter it with a colander.
- 50 grams of dryed porcini mushrooms (boletus)
- 1/2 onion
- 2 tbps of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 handful of Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 1 Liter of broth (previously prepared)
- 50 grams of grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano (do not use any Parmesan Cheese. It won’t work)
- few minced parsley leaves.
Re hydrate the mushrooms for 2 hours by putting them in a small bowl filled with warm water. The water will turn into a dark brown colour. After 2 hours, take the mushrooms out and filter the re-hidrating water with a colander to remove any sign of dust as you will need it later.
Chop the onion into very refined pieces and put it into a pretty large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Turn on the fire and let it brown for a couple of minutes. When the onion turns into a golden colour, add the rice, mix a bit and let it toast for a couple of minutes, mixing a bit to avoid it sticks to the bottom of the frying pan.
Pour the brown water used to rehydrate the mushroom into the pan and turn down the fire to the minimum level. Mix the rice from time to time until the water is fully absorbed and the rice starts growing. Then, add the mushrooms and let cook for a couple of minutes by mixing contantly.
Then add one ladleful of broth and wait until it is fully absorbed, then add another ladleful and so on, until the rice is cooked. (you may need less than 1 liter of broth). Risotto cooks in approximately 18/20 minutes. Do not exceed such time or the rice will overcook and turn into mash rice.
Turn off the fire. Add 50 grams of grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano), mix vigorously until it is fully amalgamated (this process is called “Mantecare” – some people also add some butter at this point. Do it if you like, it will get tastier. I usually don’t add any butter to keep it lighter)
Wait a couple of minutes, then sprinkle some minced parsley leaves over the pan (don’t mix anymore) and serve it.
While cooking the mushroom risotto yout kitchen will be filled with a pleasant and aromatic perfum, that is why I recommend to pair it with a glass of aromatic white wine such as Gewurztraminer or with a good Chardonney.