Risotto is one of the ultimate comfort foods. When made right, it’s creamy and belly-warming. I tend to like my risotto packed with a lot of vegetables–mushrooms being the classic companion. Here is my take using shiitakes only, but 2 ways: fresh and dried. I soak the dried shiitakes in HOT water for about 45-60 minutes before adding.
Start by sauteeing a chopped medium size onion in butter and olive oil until transcluscent. Add in the sliced mushrooms until cooked down by about half. Make sure you add salt & white pepper as you cook the risotto–you want those flavors to penetrate the mix as you go. Once cooked down, add the rice. Stir well.
Once the rice and ‘shrooms saute for a few minutes, add the thyme and saffron threads. Start adding the chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring constantly. After the first 1/2 cup of chicken stock, add the strained mushroom liquid and wine. Keep adding chicken stock until the rice is tender and the consistency is creamy. Add 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Taste for salt–if it needs it… add more. Top with more grated parmesan and fresh chopped parsley when serving.
Shiitake Mushroom Risotto with Thyme, Saffron, and Parmesan
Serves 4 – 6
6 ounces of fresh shiitake mushrooms
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of boiling water for 45-60 minutes (reserve and strain the soaking liquid)
1 medium size yellow onion
2 cups arborio rice
32 ounces (4 cups) of chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan + more for serving
2 tbsp. salted butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
1 pinch of saffron threads
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt & white pepper
1. De-stem and thinly slice the fresh and dried mushrooms. Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat a large pot or deep saute pan over medium heat; add the butter and olive oil. Once melted, add the onions. Cook until translucent. Add salt & white pepper. Add the sliced mushrooms; cook down until reduced by half. Add the rice. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add a pinch of saffron threads and the thyme. Saute another minute.
2. Lower the heat under the pot to medium-low. Start adding the chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments. Constantly stir to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once the liquid is well absorbed, add more. After the first 1/2 cup of chicken stock, add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid (strained well through a coffee filter) and the white wine. Keep adding the chicken stock until risotto is creamy and the rice is fully cooked through. This will take 20-30 minutes. Once fully cooked, stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Taste for salt and pepper–if needed, add more. Serve topped with more grated parmesan and fresh parsley.