Smooth and creamy mushroom risotto that is easy to make and just packed with flavour through the use of fresh and dried mushrooms!
This mushroom risotto recipe is one of my all time favourite dishes and while I was thinking about sides for Thanksgiving dinner I was inspired to update the recipe!
Risotto is an Italian rice dish that is cooked with ingredients and technique designed to produce an extremely creamy bowl of down right comfort food. Although the technique is not difficult, it does require some time as you add the liquids one half a cup at a time while stirring constantly. This means that you are going to be at the stove actively doing something for about an hour, but the final result is so worth it. The very fact that this dish takes some effort makes it perfect for special occasions where you want to show that you care.
Risotto is primarily about the rice and to get that nice and creamy finish you want a higher starch rice. Medium and short grained rice generally have a higher starch content and some of the favoured rices include arborio and carnaroli. For this mushroom risotto I want to really enjoy the mushrooms so I started with some dried porcini mushrooms as dried mushrooms pack a ton of flavour. Next I sauteed some wild mushrooms including cremini, shiitake and oyster which I cut into large slices so that I would be able to enjoy their texture. Next up is a homemade chicken stock (or broth) for even more flavour and the whole thing is finished off with some good quality parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese).
A lot of the creaminess of this dish comes from stirring the rice constantly while cooking it. We often make rice simply by adding it to a pot with water (or other liquid) and simmering, covered, until the rice has absorbed all of the water and is tender but risotto is different. You add the liquid a little at a time slowly stirring until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is al’dente tender. This constant stirring helps to make the final dish nice and creamy!
This creamy mushroom risotto is perfect for special occasions, whether as a side or even as a main dish!
It is traditional to deglaze the pan and start the rice cooking in a bit of wine before moving over to broth but if you prefer you can make it without the wine simply by substituting extra broth in place of the wine!
Dry mushrooms are just packed with concentrated mushroom flavour and using them adds extra flavour to any dish! Normally you soak them in hot water until they are tender and you can then use them as desired, making sure to also use the water that they were soaked in, which also contains a ton of mushroom flavour after soaking! A great way to extract even more flavour from dried mushrooms is to grind them up into a fine powder in a spice/coffee grinder and the increased surface area that the powder has means even more mushroom flavour! Both soaked and powdered dried mushrooms are a great way to really kick the mushroom flavour in this mushroom risotto!
I love to serve this easy mushroom risotto with simple pan seared steaks where I season the steaks with a Montreal steak seasoning along with some powdered dried mushrooms, because steaks and mushrooms are a match made in heaven!
Feel free to change the cheese up with a grana padano, a pecorino or even a gruyere!