Risotto is a simple, flavorful yet time-consuming rice dish. There are four basic ingredients to good risotto: Arborio rice, flavorings, broth and sautéed vegetables. Arborio rice is the heart of this dish with a high starch content that is gradually released through constant stirring. It is more expensive than other rice but its creamy, comforting texture is worth the extra cost. You won’t get the same taste and/or texture with regular rice.
For the sautéed vegetables, I prefer Chanterelle mushrooms but if you can’t easily find them, you can substitute Shitake or Porcini mushrooms. Each has its own unique flavor. In fact, if you like this recipe, make it again sometime with one of these mushrooms instead of the Chanterelle. One more tip: if you are using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in very hot water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and be sure to totally trim off the stems.
Linda Sorensen inspired this recipe after an excellent dinner one weekend at Lol & Linda’s beautiful home here in Ojai. After teaching Linda how to make a fruitful Risotto with grapes, I promised to come up with a savory recipe. When my wife, Robin, tried the final iteration of this recipe with Chanterelle mushrooms she pronounced it “killer”. This one’s for Linda!
5 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups Chanterelle mushrooms (trimmed & chopped)
½ cup brandy
½ cup cream
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots (chopped)
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
Pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish (chopped)
Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and allow to simmer.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add chopped mushrooms and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add brandy, bring to a boil and reduce liquid by half. Lower heat to medium-low, add cream and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine remaining butter and all of the olive oil in a deep pan. Add shallots and cook over medium heat until soft. Add rice to the pan and stir to coat with shallots and butter mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally.
Add enough vegetable stock to this mixture to cover the rice and cook until the level of stock reduces below the level of the rice. Continue cooking and adding small amounts of stock until all of the stock is gone. Be sure to stir the rice as the stock is incorporated so that it cooks evenly. You’ll know the risotto is done when the rice is tender but still has a good bite.
Finish by stirring in the mushroom mixture and Parmesan cheese. Season with pepper to taste (do not add any more salt). Garnish with parsley and serve hot.