I used to be intimidated by risotto. It has a reputation of being delicate and difficult to make, a dish only to be enjoyed in a restaurant and not worth fussing over at home. I have decided that this reputation is based only on the fact that it requires hands on attention the whole time it is cooking which is precisely what makes it one of my very favorite things to make. I find the constant stirring soothing and relaxing. It’s actually quite simple to make and the result is a creamy, flavorful exquisite one-dish-wonder. And unless you’re planning to put shaved black truffle mushrooms atop it, it’s one of the most budget-friendly main courses around.
This version of risotto (based on a recipe from Bon Appétit October, 2010) calls for wild mushrooms. I encourage you to explore your local farmer’s market for an assortment of these delicious mushroom varietals. If you don’t have white truffle oil at home, I recommend finding some way to rationalize buying a bottle. My birthday is in two weeks so I considered the small twenty-two dollar bottle of white truffle oil I bought an early birthday present to myself. It’s worth every penny.
I served the risotto as a main course along with a butter lettuce and radish salad with avocado dressing. This dish can also be served in smaller portions as an elegant first course.
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 pounds fresh wild mushrooms
- (such as cèpe [porcini], hen of the woods, chanterelle, or stemmed shiitake); large mushrooms sliced, small mushrooms halved or quartered
- 7 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 1/4 cups arborio rice (8 to 9 ounces)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup dry white vermouth
- 1 tablespoon white truffle oil for drizzling (optional)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving (optional)
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 of mushrooms and sprinkle with salt. Sauté mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Working in 3 more batches, repeat with 4 tablespoons butter, remaining mushrooms, and salt and pepper.
Bring 7 cups chicken broth to simmer in medium saucepan; keep warm. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek and onions, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add white wine and vermouth and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 1 minute. Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in sautéed mushrooms. Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, if using. Drizzle with truffle oil. Transfer risotto to serving bowl. Pass additional Parmesan cheese alongside, if desired.