Monday, March 24, 2014

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

Risotto is a well-known traditional Italian primo piatto, prepared by slowly cooking rice with stock. This dish is ideal for a casual dinner among friends, sharing a good glass of wine and a fun conversation.
Preparing a risotto is not much harder than cooking other rice dishes. With the right ingredients, some care, and a little bit of stirring, you will easily master this method that can be then used in many other risotto dishes.
First of all, you will need to buy the right variety of rice. I like to use Arborio, an Italian short-grain rice with high starch content, which absorbs more liquid making the risotto creamier and more delicious.
In tonight risotto I'd like to add dry porcini mushrooms. These mushrooms have a strong and unique woody aroma and flavor. You will love it!
It is easier to find dry than fresh porcini around here. Dry mushrooms need to be soaked in warm water before using, so they re-hydrate and become softer. The advantage of dry mushrooms is that they don't spoil as quickly as fresh ones. You can even store them in the refrigerator or freezer for a longer shelf life.
Check out the Amazon link below, where you can buy Arborio rice and dry porcini!

Ready to learn this simple technique for preparing risotto and impress your friends with your cooking skills?
Here is what you will need:

Ingredients (serving 4 people):

1 oz of dry porcini mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of dry white wine
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

Preparation Time: About 30 minutes to cook the risotto, plus 20 minutes to soak the mushrooms.


Step 1: Soak the dry mushrooms in hot water for at least 20 minutes.

Step 2: In large saucepan, saute' over medium heat one tablespoon of butter with the olive oil and the crushed garlic clove. Drain the mushrooms, cut them in big pieces if needed and add to the saucepan. Saute' for 4-5 minutes.

Step 3: Add the rice to the pan and let saute' for a couple of minutes. Now add the white wine and simmer for one more minute before adding one cup of stock and one tablespoon of parsley.

Step 4: Cook the risotto for another 15-20 minutes stirring constantly and adding more stock or water when it's absorbed. Add salt to taste.
Note: Add smaller amounts of liquid when the risotto is almost ready. The secret is to end with a risotto with the right consistency when the rice is cooked. Not too runny, not too dry!

Step 5: And here is the secret that will make your risotto not just good, but exceptional: when the rice is cooked al dente (please don't overcook!) remove the saucepan from heat, add one tablespoon of both butter and parsley. Add the Parmesan cheese. Mix well, cover the pan and wait 3-4 minutes before serving.

Here is my rich and velvety risotto with porcini mushrooms!


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