• Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

Risotto is a classic first course of Italian cuisine, widespread in numerous preparations. Its main feature is the maintenance of the starch which gelatinized due to cooking and binds the grains together in a creamy type compound. Among the various qualities of rice, there are some that are particularly suitable for the preparation of risotto (Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli, Maratelli, Rosa Marchetti, Sant’Andrea, Vialone nano). The other ingredients vary according to the recipe.

There is a general agreement on the procedure that involves preheating (toasting) the rice in the pan with fatty substance (butter, oil or other) and and a constant rather low heat cooking of the rice itself and of the vegetable or animal ingredient. Gradually broth should be added, to allow the rice grains to absorb it and be cooked in a constant balance of humidity.

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

There are different opinions on the recipe details but also on the definition of risotto, which in the most restrictive sense excludes all dishes in which the ingredients are not cooked exclusively in the same cooking time of the rice itself. The current definition of risotto also includes versions in which the seasoning ingredients that are cooked together with the rice have been subjected to a previous independent cooking cycle. Therefore, rice dishes in which the sauce is added are excluded, as on pasta, when the cooking process is done.

Ingredients (4 people)

400 g Carnaroli rice
1 white onion bianca o shallot
100 g butter
40 g dried porcini mushrooms
300 gr fresh porcini mushrooms (or fresh frozen)
4 walnuts
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 glass of dry white wine
60 gr Parmesan cheese
parsley to taste

beef broth
1 priest’s hat (flap) 1 kg
4 carrots
1 onions
1 celery stalk
Salt to taste

Note for vegetarians and vegans
You can make the recipe excluding the meat, the result will be equally exceptional.


Preparation of the broth (cooking for 3 hours)
Fill a pan with 3 liters of water or as much as you’ll need to cover the meat to be used for cooking the risotto.
Once brought to a boil, using the most powerful flame available, place the meat in the pot adding the salt (do not overdo it) and cover with the lid. Let it boil over high heat for 8 minutes to seal the meat. At this point, lower the heat to the minimum, on the smallest point of the stove (where the flame is lower and produces less heat) and leave it on the fire for 2 hours (very low heat – slow cooking). In the meantime, clean the vegetables to be used: carrots, celery and onion, in the right quantities. After the first 2 hours of cooking, add the vegetables (not all together, 5 minutes apart so as not to lower the broth temperature too much) and leave another 45 minutes to finish cooking.

Preparation of the risotto (cooking 15-17 minutes)
Take a pan for the risotto, possibly large in order to homogenize the cooking, and add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Cut the white onion into very fine cubes, taking care to remove the outer part (skin) and the ends. Put this mixture in the pan and stew over low heat (don’t fry).

Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Pulverize the dried mushrooms in a small smooth mortar (a cup for breakfast is also fine). Similarly, in another cup, pulverize the walnuts. Grate the Parmesan cheese. Now put the rice in the pan and toast it so that the grains shine (2-3 minutes on high heat should be enough). Add the glass of white wine and continue cooking by covering the rice with the broth previously prepared, over very high heat. Immediately add the dried porcini mushrooms and the pulverized walnuts so that they melt and blend with the whole. While the rice is cooking, take a pan, heat a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and place the fresh (or frozen) mushrooms in it to cook them.

Meanwhile, continue adding the broth gradually for about 15 minutes, taste the consistency of the rice which must be “al dente” (soft but still has a light bite to it when eaten). At this point we add 80 gr. of butter and mix it with a wooden spoon, and immediately after it is the turn of the grated cheese, 40 gr. of Parmigiano Reggiano. Cover everything for 1 or 2 minutes, long enough to finish cooking with the creaming.

Use strictly white dishes, possibly warm and not cold to serve the risotto. Once the necessary quantity has been placed in the dish, take the mushrooms prepared separately and sprinkle them with finely chopped parsley (do not overdo the parsley) and place them delicately on top of the risotto. Final touch: a few drops of extra virgin olive oil over the fresh mushrooms.

Enjoy your meal!