The creation of risotto is tied to the history of rice in Italy, making its debut in the Middle Ages. The Mediterranean was (and is) very humid and was found to be the perfect growing environment for short-grained rice. Genoa, Venice, and surrounding towns all made enormous profits from selling the grain.
Since the Middle Ages, the methods and presentation of risotto has been largely unchanged. It’s creamy texture and deep flavors are pleasing to all. Popular variations may include seafood, truffle, veal, mushrooms, lemon, or pumpkin, but you can add whatever flavors you prefer. This particular version uses ingredients typical of Tuscany – porcini mushrooms and white truffle oil. For another tasty variation, see my recipe for Lemon and Parmesan Risotto.
20 grams dried porcini mushrooms
4 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 cup Arborio rice (or another short-grained rice)
Parmesan cheese, grated
White truffle oil to top
Fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
Put the dried porcini mushrooms and 4 cups of water into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Remove the broth from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the porcini mushrooms from the broth with a slotted spoon and finely chop them. Set aside.
To a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallot and cook over medium heat until the shallot become translucent (approximately 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Do not let the onions brown.
Add the baby portabella mushrooms to the saucepan and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the chopped porcini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
Add the Arborio rice to the saucepan. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Begin adding the still-warm mushroom stock to the rice, one cup at a time, stirring frequently between additions. Once almost all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, add another cup. Continue to add one cup of stock at a time until the rice is cooked through and the risotto is creamy (approximately 20 minutes). You will likely use at least 3 cups of mushrooms stock.
Divide the risotto between four plates. Drizzle with white truffle oil and top with grated parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired
*feature photo courtesy of www.eclecticrecipes.com