The tricks to the creamiest and most flavourful mushroom risotto

Have you every tried to make a risotto? It seems like a very simple dish. But it is an explosion of creaminess and flavour, if done properly. But don’t be alarmed, because it is not that complicated. You just need to know a few tips and tricks to the creamiest and most flavourful mushroom risotto.

Ingredients

Rice

The rice is very important. Don’t use the thin rice, be sure to look for carnarolivialone nanoarborioBomba rice, if the others are not available, are also fine. Just make sure they are the japonica type rice that are rounder. They have quite a lot of starch in them to add the fantastic creaminess to the dish and they absorb quite a lot of broth, so more flavour too.

The tricks to the creamiest and most flavourful mushroom risotto

Broth

The best thing you can do is make your own broth. If you are cooking some chicken, for example, or you have some leftover bones, throw those into a pot with some onion, carrot, celery stick, and I usually put all the veggie scraps I collect over the week, so I don’t waste anything. Veggie scraps can be the green and tough parts of the leek, the core of a cabbage, even veggie skins can be used for this.

Also, a trick I learned while living in Italy, is to use the parmigiano reggiano tough skin, that you might otherwise throw away. It will give some more fat and umami taste to the broth, and it’s a great alternative for a vegetarian version.

Creaminess

Butter is pretty important for the creaminess and, of course, the taste. Please don’t use margarine… while it is in general a cheap type of fat you shouldn’t use, if you prefer to do a lighter version of the risotto for summer, for example, just stick to some good olive oil instead.

Parmigiano reggiano, one of the most important ingredients that you should never forget, should be grated fresh before adding. Don’t buy the pregrated cheese bags. Normally it’s just some cheese scraps or the parmigiano skin that is grated. It also oxidises and dries faster, so it won’t give so much creaminess, and it tastes really more like saw dust. If parmigiano is not available to you, just look for some other hard cheese that you can grate. It’s always better to substitute something with a fresh wholesome ingredient than something that comes already preground in a plastic bag.

Important tips for the cooking process

You usually start by cooking some chopped onions in the pot, but, please, be very careful at this stage. It’s better to lower the flame to the minimum and do it for a longer time until the onion becomes soft and transparent, instead of burning them quickly. They shouldn’t brown in this stage!

To give more flavour of the extra ingredients you will want to add, like mushrooms or asparagus or others, make sure to add most of them in the initial phase after the onions have cooked. If you only add the porcini mushrooms at the end of the cooking, the rice won’t be soaked with the mushrooms flavour, and that’s not what we are looking for. You can, however, reserve some mushrooms for the last few minutes to have whole chunks of them too.

The glass of wine you add is important for the taste, as it will give you some nice acidity to balance out the butter and parmigiano fats, but it will also sear the rice a bit so they don’t lose all the starch during cooking, and maintain the structure.

The broth you will be pouring on the rice has to be hot, because you need to maintain a steady boiling temperature when you are cooking the rice. So preheat the broth, it is very important.

The risotto in the pot has to be boiling at all times, so make sure to stay put and stir constantly so it doesn’t get burned at the bottom. The boiling will assure the perfect consistency and creaminess.

Once the rice is cooked al dente, turn off the heat and put in some butter and the grated cheese (yes, before serving it on the table), stir quickly and leave it with the lid on for about 10min to infuse.

Creamy mushroom risotto

Creamy autumn mushroom risotto

This is a very full and flavour full dish, it can be served as the main. Be sure to serve it hot, because it will be at its best. You can also use the leftovers the next day by frying them and do some crunchy rice fritters, or make arancine too!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting time 10 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-sized onion chopped
  • 25 g dry porcini mushrooms soaked in hot water 20min before
  • 1 cup risotto rice
  • ½ Cup dry white wine
  • 1 l vegetable or meat broth
  • Cup grated parmigiano reggiano

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the broth.
  • Put the dry mushrooms in a bowl and pour some hot water on top, leave for a few minutes until the absorb some water and rehydrate.
  • In a medium-sized pot on medium-low heat melt the butter and add the chopped onion. Sauté the onions for a few minutes until they are slightly transparent and soft. Don't let them brown or burn!
  • Add the rehydrated mushrooms to the onion and keep cooking for a few minutes. You can save ¼ of the mushrooms for later, but it's not obligatory.
  • Add the rice and cook them on high heat with the mushrooms and onions for 3 minutes, until they look slightly transparent, but don't let them brown. After that pour the wine glass on top and let the alcohol evaporate for a few moments.
  • Start by pouring two cups of the hot broth on the cooking rice. Remember to keep the heat high and stir constantly. Once the rice become a bit dry or if they start sticking to the bottom of the pan, add another cup of broth. Keep adding the broth until the rice are cooked, but make sure to cook them only al dente. Just before the end, you can add the rest of the mushrooms, if you left some aside at the beginning.
  • Once the broth is out and the rice is cooked, be sure there is still a bit of liquid so the rice look creamy instead of very dry. At this stage you can turn off the heat, put a small chunk of butter and the parmigiano. Stir vigorously and then out the lid on and leave it to rest for 5 min.
  • Serve on a flat dish, so the rice can cool slightly. You can add more parmigiano when the dish has been served at the table.
Keyword mushrooms, porcini, risotto

About

Graduate in Gastronomic Sciences, Q Arabica Grader, WSET L2 in wine. Obsessed with cooking new recipes, I love visiting producers and travel for food!

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