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A delicious Mushroom Risotto is easier than you might think! It’s a classic Italian dish that everyone should learn how to make.
This recipe for Mushroom Risotto changed the course of my life.
I know – that sounds very dramatic. But if you asked my husband about the exact moment he knew he wanted to marry me, he would tell you that he knew I was “The One” when I made this exact mushroom risotto recipe for him for the very first time.
Years ago, when Jack and I first met, we used to take turns cooking dinner for each other in hopes of impressing each other with our culinary skills. We both loved to cook, and we both loved eating good food, so when we started dating it was a lot of fun to cook for an appreciative audience – or conversely, to be pampered by a delicious home cooked meal that the other had prepared. So one night when it was my turn to cook, I grilled some salmon and served this creamy mushroom risotto on the side. It was love at first bite!
And while I can’t promise that making this recipe will change the course of your life like it did mine, I can promise that it’s a delicious way to prepare Mushroom Risotto!
Like most risotto recipes, this one takes some time and attention to prepare. But otherwise, it is rice that is simply and perfectly flavored with onion, chicken stock, Parmesan and sautéed Crimini (also sometimes called baby Bella or baby Portobella) mushrooms.
Is risotto a rice or a pasta?
Risotto is a Northern Italian dish made from Arborio rice. (The name risotto is derived from the Italian word ‘riso’ which means rice.) Arborio is a rounded, Italian short grain rice that is high in starch. Because of that high starch content, as the Arborio rice is cooked in broth, it achieves a creamy texture. It can be simply flavored with cheese, or you can make different risotto variations including today’s risotto with mushrooms, seafood, or vegetables.
Some people confuse rice-shaped orzo pasta for risotto. And some risotto-style recipes are made with other grains – like this one. But risotto made with Arborio rice is the original.
Steps for Cooking Perfect Risotto
We give you step-by-step instructions in the recipe card below. But there are few tips and tricks to ensure that your Mushroom Risotto cooks up perfectly.
- When you are adding mushrooms to your risotto (or other vegetables or protein), cook them separately from your rice. Then once the risotto is cooked, stir your mushrooms in at the end just before serving. Doing so will prevent your mushrooms from overcooking, and it will allow the risotto to cook evenly.
- Saute your Arborio rice in butter and oil before you begin adding the stock. This begins the cooking process, allowing the starches in the rice to begin to develop flavor. Just be sure not to overcook the rice at this point. You don’t want to let the rice turn brown – just saute the rice long enough for it to start to turn translucent.
- Preheat your stock in a saucepan and keep it warm on the stove. Then use a ladle to add the warmed stock in half cup (or so) increments as your risotto simmers and cooks. Have extra stock on hand in the event that your risotto needs a little more cooking time. (It’s also helpful to have stock on hand if you need to reheat any risotto.)
- Don’t boil your risotto – let it gently simmer as it cooks. Stir constantly as it cooks.
- We have had the best luck cooking risotto in a smaller, deeper, heavy-bottomed sauce pan which holds the heat, versus a larger, wider pot. The smaller, cast iron allows the rice to cook in the stock, while preventing the stock from cooking off too quickly.
How can you tell when Risotto is Done?
Risotto is done when the rice is cooked ‘al dente’ or ‘firm to the bite’. It will be chewy, but shouldn’t be mushy.
One trick is to take a grain of the cooked rice (allow it to cool first, of course) and place it between your fingers. Squeeze – and if the grain breaks in the middle, it’s done.
Once the rice is cooked, stir in your pre-cooked mushrooms and some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with some extra Parmesan sprinkled on top.
How do you reheat risotto?
We think risotto reheats the best in the microwave with a little bit of stock added. After the a minute or so, stir, then finish heating through. Just be sure that the risotto doesn’t heat up so much that it overcooks and becomes mushy.
What do I serve with Mushroom Risotto?
You may like these other risotto recipes:
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Zucchini Corn Risotto
- Asparagus Lemon Risotto
- Three Cheese Risotto
- Sweet Potato Risotto
This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in November 2012.
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Risotto with Crimini mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.
1 8–ounce package Crimini or baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup dry Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, home made if possible
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
- To prepare the mushrooms, clean the mushrooms by brushing them off (avoid washing with water) and cut into quarters (stems may be left on).
- In a medium sauté pan, melt the one tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Add the cleaned and quartered mushrooms and sauté over medium-high heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently. (Note – it’s important to sauté the mushrooms over somewhat high heat in order to get the mushrooms to release their moisture without steaming.) Once the mushrooms are lightly browned and tender and plump, sprinkle lightly with just a touch of salt and allow to sauté for another minute more – this step will release just a bit more of the moisture in the mushrooms. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and set aside.
- To prepare the rice, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
- Add the Arborio rice, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes until the rice is just starting to turn lightly golden.
- Quickly pour in the white wine and allow the liquid to boil and be absorbed into the rice. Then pour in ¼ cup of chicken stock to the rice, stirring constantly. (If necessary, adjust the heat under the pot – you want a medium simmer.) Add more stock ¼ cup at a time – adding more stock just as most but not all of the liquid has been absorbed before adding in more stock.)
- Cook the rice and stock together in this manner for approximately 25 minutes or so – until the rice is tender but not mushy. Turn the heat off when there is still some liquid remaining in the rice and stir in the Parmesan cheese and mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine completely.
- Remove from heat and cover – let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Note: Risotto may be reheated by adding in some additional chicken stock and stirring to incorporate into the risotto.
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