I love risotto. But for some reason I have really only made it one other time. Shocking, I know. The first time was back in August when I made red wine radicchio risotto. I decided it was time to make it again, this time with mushrooms and the pretty standard saffron. Risotto is pretty flexible and so you can really add whatever you want. All you need is abborio rice and chicken stock, well, for the most part.
You can easily make this dish to serve as a main course or as a side with something else. The choice is yours. You could leave out the saffron too, which I realize can be expensive, though I found a large bag in Chinatown for less that $1. Who knows if it’s even real!
1 1/2 cups abborio rice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
4 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter (unsalted, 1/2 stick)
8-12 ounces button mushrooms, or shiitake/porcini
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
salt and pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock to a low simmer and place on a back burner.
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat if onions begin to brown. Add saffron (if using), stir and cook for about 1 minute.
Add mushrooms and cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, but not cooked through. Add rice, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Using a ladle, add one ladle full of chicken stock to pot. Stir immediately, and continue stirring until all the chicken stock has been absorbed. Keep heat at level that has risotto at a slow boil, about medium heat. Continue adding chicken stock, one ladle at time, stirring until stock is absorbed before adding the next portion of stock. Continue for about 15 minutes, until the rice is slightly al dente. You should use nearly all of your chicken stock.
Add wine, cheese and butter and bring to a boil until rice is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Enjoy!