I have always been surprised at how difficult people think risotto is to make. True there are a couple of tricks, but all in all, it is a very easy dish to cook. This makes it a fantastic choice for guests since they think you spent a lot of time preparing it.
Here are a few important things to remember. The stock needs to be at a simmer at all times otherwise the cooking temperature will change as more is ladled in. Different types of risotto call for different types of stock. For example in this dish I used two stocks, the liquid from dried mushrooms plus chicken stock. If this were a seafood risotto, I would use a stock made from shellfish. Certain vegetable risottos work better with a sharper vegetable stock than a creamy chicken based one. Of course regardless of the flavor, the stock should always be homemade. When it is time to finish I like to use Romano cheese. Except if the risotto is a cheese based one to begin with, then whatever cheeses you are using would be included at that time. For this risotto, I used fresh shitake and cremini mushrooms, but the choices are endless. As for dried mushrooms, I prefer shitake because I can find them cheap at any Asian food market. Of course dried porcini are the best if you have the money to buy them. Aside from that it is a hard dish to mess up.
Mixed Mushroom Risotto
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 ½ cups mushrooms stems diced fine and caps sliced medium thick
- 6 green onions
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano chopped fine
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped fine
- ½ cup dried shitake mushrooms
- ½ cup white wine
- 7-8 cups fresh chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup grated Romano
Dice green onions separating the white ends from the green. Place dried mushrooms in a measuring cup and fill with 1 cup boiling water. Allow to soak for about a half hour. Then squeeze out all the liquid and discard mushrooms. (If using dried porcini dice fine and add to the pile of fresh mushroom stems.) Pour chicken stock in a sauce pan and heat to a simmer. Melt butter covered in olive oil in large saute pan. Add white onion parts and saute on medium heat until softened and broken apart. Add diced mushroom stems and cook until browned. Add rice and mix well to coat in the oil on medium heat, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook until it evaporates. Add liquid from the mushrooms and cook until rice absorbs it. Switch to simmering chicken stock and add about a cup at a time. Each time the rice absorbs most of the liquid, add another cup of stock. When about 4 cups worth of total liquid has been absorbed add the sliced mushroom caps and oregano. Season with salt and pepper but do not add too much salt because the Romano is slightly salty. Continue to add stock until rice is creamy and has no bite. When the rice has just a slight crunch, add the green parts of the onion. When rice is creamy add cheese and parsley. Turn off heat and allow risotto to sit for about ten minutes. Serve with salad and white wine.