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Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

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Makes 4 to 6 side dishes.
By Dennis W. Viau; from an Italian cooking course recipe.

You stay with risotto at the stove until it is ready to serve. Regular old grocery-store long grain rice goes in a pan with some water, bring to a boil, put the lid on, and then come back when it’s done. Risotto uses Arborio rice, which yields the starch that gives risotto its creamy texture. Risotto also requires constant attention, stirring it for 20 minutes or so, during the entire cooking process to create the creaminess.


3 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil (50ml)
½ onion; chopped
3 ounces (85g) Shiitake or other good flavored mushrooms; coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2½ to 3 cups (600-700ml) chicken stock; homemade or store-bought
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup (200g) Arborio rice
1 generous pinch of saffron (optional); about 15 threads
1 ounce (30g) Parmesan or Romano cheese; grated or shredded
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and add the chopped onion. Sauté until translucent and tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Add the wine and simmer to reduce liquid volume to about half. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place chicken stock in a medium saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to hold barely simmering.

Place the butter and olive oil in a larger saucepan and heat to melt the butter. Reduce heat to low. Add the rice and cook about 1 minute. Add about ½ cup (60ml) hot chicken stock and the saffron (optional). Stir to combine. Stir gently as the liquid simmers, being careful that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another ½ cup of stock and continue stirring over low heat, again until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue until you’ve incorporated most of the stock. Check the rice for tenderness. Use more stock (or additional water) and continue cooking if you want a more tender rice. For an al dente rice, 20 to 22 minutes total cooking time should suffice. For tender rice, you might need to cook it for as long as 25 minutes.

Add the onion-mushroom mixture to the risotto and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and let cool a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the cheese. Do not over-stir, as this might make the cheese stringy. If desired, garnish lightly with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Serve with a richly flavored meat, such as Pesto Lamb.