Lemony Mushroom Risotto

8 Apr

This winter I have been having a love affair with risotto. Creamy and rich and so very tasty. You can season it with about anything and it will taste good.  In the past I had always breezed right by risotto recipes, dismissing them as too time consuming or assuming that they were chock-a-block full for cream and butter. Then on a whim one snowed in evening I decided to give it a go and made a simply marvelous new discovery… risotto is easy! From start to finish the whole thing took about thirty minutes and contrary to popular belief used no cream or milk and only a smidgeon of butter. I was hooked. On top of that risotto is a crowd pleaser that routinely makes an impression. Can’t go wrong with that.

Full discloser here: risotto does require a babysitter. You will be stirring it the basically the whole time it simmers away, soaking up all that vino, chicken stock and whatever other tasty tidbits you toss in there. But it’s not that hard. You won’t get carpal tunnel or anything of that sort. Just grab a wooden spoon, a glass of wine and dinner will be ready (and delicious) in no time. I promise.

Here is a version I made at a recent early spring BBQ and very much enjoyed.

Even at home at a BBQ.

Lemony Mushroom Risotto
from Gourmet 2001

2 2/3 cups boiling-hot water
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 lb small cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Arborio rice (8 oz)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Pour 2/3 cup hot water over porcini in a heatproof cup and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Lift porcini out of water, squeezing excess liquid back into cup, and rinse well to remove any grit. Coarsely chop porcini. Pour soaking liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve into a glass measure and reserve.

Meanwhile, bring broth and remaining 2 cups hot water to a simmer. Keep at a bare simmer, covered.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté cremini, stirring, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add porcini and reserved soaking liquid to skillet and boil, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Cook onion in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed.

Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth mixture and cook at a strong simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition become absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender but still al dente and creamy (it should be the consistency of a thick soup), 18 minutes. (There will be leftover broth.)

Stir in zest, mushrooms, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, parmesan, parsley, and pepper to taste. (If necessary, thin risotto with some of remaining broth.) Serve immediately.

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