Porcini mushroom risotto

Hubster and I definitely have a soft spot for risotto. Slow simmered rice that is packed with flavor is totally our jam. Hubster is most likely to opt for a risotto dish at an Italian restaurant, and I’m constantly whipping up bags of Alessi Sun Dried Tomato Risotto for quick side dishes. Buy some of this. It’s available in St Louis at Schnucks. Seriously, I’m worried Schnucks is going to discontinue stocking this because we’re the only people who buy it. That would make me sad…


I figured it was high time I tried my hand at the non-packaged variety. It really is easy, but man is it time consuming. About half way through the constant stirring (that’s not a joke either), I called Hubster into duty so I could finish the rest of the meal.


The end result was good, but I don’t know if the labor and time was worth it… at least while I can still find Alessi’s version. (Add this to your shopping list right now.) I actually contemplated not running this recipe because we probably won’t make it again. But I remembered that I have a few vegetarians out there and I think this would make a very satisfying main course for veggie loving friends. Nearly a half hour of stirring seems OK when the dish is the star of the meal. Of course, vegetarians will want to swap the beef broth for veggie broth and have a deep seated love of mushrooms because this dish is as mushroom-y as they come.


Porcini mushroom risotto
Slightly adapted from Cooking Light’s Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone

2 cups water
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 oz)
1 large shallot
2 garlic cloves
1 can low sodium beef broth
Cooking spray
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

Boil the water and combine with the dried mushrooms. Let stand for 30 minutes or until soft. Drain mushrooms, reserving 1 ½ cups of the soaking liquid. Chop mushrooms. Chop shallot and mince garlic. Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep broth mixture warm over low heat.

Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high.  Add rice, shallot, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).

Add 1 cup of the broth mixture to rice mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of the broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Add mushrooms, grated cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper; stir gently until cheese melts.

Note: The original recipe called for a dollop of mascarpone. We didn’t include that but if you’re making this into a main dish it should help cut the earthiness from the mushrooms a bit.

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