Risotto is one of my favorite ways of making rice. I didn’t learn to cook risotto until I moved to Madison, when my mother in law gave me a Williams-Sonoma Risotto book for my birthday. I guess I was always longing and talking about how I missed all the Italian restaurants in Caracas. I especially like making this creamy buttery rice when I have guests over. The combinations of ingredients is endless and each one has a distinctive taste, even thou the cooking method is the same. Always use a short grain rice to get that starchy consistency; the traditional rice used for risotto is Arborio, but I use any short grain I have on hand and it works.
I normally use cremini or shiitake to make mushroom risotto, a lot of recipes call for a combination of fresh and dry mushrooms. I only use fresh to make it easier. Last Saturday I went to the Farmer’s Market earlier to get some fresh mushrooms and ended up getting Lion’s Mane Mushrooms. Their consistency is almost like a marshmallow and it has a very mild flavor. It would definitely be a good one to combine with another kind, but it turned out very tasty, and I complimented it with a pan seared steak and caramelized onions. Don’t be afraid to try this recipe and surprise your next guest 🙂 Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 4)
6 to 7 cups of chicken stock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound Lion’s Maine mushroom, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
2 cups short grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer and maintain at a gentle simmer over low heat. Reserve 1/4 cup of stock.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat half of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced mushroom and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, cook for another 2 minutes. Spoon the mushrooms out to a plate. To the same pan add the reminder olive oil and the rice; stir over medium heat until the rice is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.
Start adding the simmering stock one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly. When the stock is almost absorbed, add more stock and continue stirring to release all the starch from the rice. Repeat until you have about one cup of stock left. It will take about 18 minutes until the rice is al dente (tender to the bite, but slightly firm in the center). Add the mushroom back to the pot with the last cup of stock and stir until the mushroom is heated through. Turn the heat off, add the cheese, salt and pepper, butter and reserved 1/4 cup of stock, stir gently. It should look creamy. Serve immediately.