But is it really? No way; simple beans can be coaxed into velvety, comforting deliciousness and a pot of risotto made with care can taste like a total luxury.
This mushroom risotto is no exception. It’s a little bit splurgy, loaded with wild mushrooms and enriched with creamy mascarpone cheese. It’s cooked slowly and thoughtfully, the kind of dish that demands you stay in the kitchen, sipping wine as it comes together. You’ll eat it, enjoy it, and have no regrets about giving it signature dish status in your kitchen too.
Let’s get cooking. Get your hands on your favorite mushrooms. I used a mix of shiitake, crimini, oyster, and dried porcini mushrooms.
Get the risotto going in the same pan you used for the mushrooms. Sauté a chopped shallot in butter or olive oil, then add a handful of arborio rice. Stir it around the pot and let it toast for minute before adding a glass of white wine. Let the wine simmer off, then add a bit of stock. Simmer, stirring often and adding more stock as the pan becomes dry.
When the rice is tender, add the mushrooms and leaves from a few sprigs of thyme. Cook together for a minute or two until the mushrooms are reheated and the flavors of the separate components come together.
- ½ oz. Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 1# Fresh Mushrooms (I used about 8 oz. crimini, 4 oz. oyster mushrooms, 4 oz. shiitake)
- 2 Tbsp. Butter, divided
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 1¼ c. Arborio Rice
- 1 c. Dry White Wine
- about 3 c. Chicken or Vegetable Stock (homemade or low-sodium), hot
- a few sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 4 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
- Place dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and pour about a ½ c. of boiling water over them. Let them soak and reconstitute while you clean the fresh mushrooms.
- Wipe the fresh mushrooms clean and remove the stems. Cut the crimini in quarters or sixths. Slice the shiitake and cut any large oyster mushrooms into a couple pieces.
- Remove the porcini from the water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Coarsely chop. Reserve the soaking liquid.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. butter in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden, 10-15 minutes. If the pan gets too dry at any point, clear a spot and add a drizzle of olive oil. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
- Heat remaining Tbsp. of butter in the same pan you used for the mushrooms over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, season with a pinch of salt, and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and toast for a minute or so until it makes a clicking noise as you stir it around the pan. Add the wine and cook until the rice has absorbed nearly all of it. Add the mushroom soaking liquid and reduce heat to maintain a very slow simmer. After the liquid has been absorbed, add about a third of the broth. As the rice absorbs the broth and the pan becomes dry, add more broth. Stir frequently and taste often, seasoning as you go along. This should take 30-40 minutes.
- When the rice is tender, stir in the mushrooms and thyme. Cook the risotto and the mushrooms together for a minute or two to unite the flavors. Remove from heat and stir in the mascarpone. Taste. Season with black pepper and salt, as needed. Serve in warm bowls.