Wild Mushroom Risotto, Plus What to do with the Leftovers

WARNING!  Don’t pick your own mushrooms without expert advice!!

Chanterelles foraged from Orr's Island, Maine

Chanterelles foraged from Orr’s Island, Maine

[Click on any thumbnail to enlarge]

You can use store-bought mushrooms for this dish but we have become avid mushroom hunters and this dish really sets off the flavors of the wild ones well.  If you choose your mushrooms from the store, choose the more flavorful exotic ones such as shitake, crimini and oyster, which are usually fairly reasonable in price.  I like a mixture.  Today I have Giant Puffball (found on a steep bank beside a road in Westport, Connecticut), some Chanterelles (found on Orrs Island , Maine), some Hen of the Woods (found in a condominium complex in Southport, Connecticut) and some dried Porcini our children

A large haul of Giant Puffball mushrooms

A large haul of Giant Puffball mushrooms

brought home to us from Tuscany.  When we find mushrooms, we fry them until they are nearly done, half in olive oil, half in butter (some recipes require one, some the other), freeze them on cookie sheets and store them in large plastic bags in the freezer.   This recipe is adapted from one I saw on “Cooking with Master Chefs,” the episode featuring Lidia Bastianich.  It requires nearly constant attention for 20 to 25 minutes so be sure to make your salad first and have everything else you need for the meal ready at hand so you won’t have to leave the stove for any extended length of time.

 

Two "nests" of Hen of the Woods

Two “nests” of Hen of the Woods

Wild Mushroom Risotto

  • A mixture of mushrooms, at least 12 oz. (I use more)
  • 2 C. Arborio rice
  • 1 C. dry white wine
  • 5 C. +/- chicken stock, heated
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. +/- olive oil
  • 1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
Wild mushroom risotto with chicken picata and sauteed green beans

Wild mushroom risotto with chicken piccata and sautéed green beans

If you have dried Porcini, rehydrate them in hot chicken broth for about 20 minutes (I use about 1/4 C. of Porcini in 1/2 C. broth).  Saute the rest of the mushrooms in olive oil until they are nicely browned.  Meanwhile saute the onion in olive oil until translucent and slightly browned then add garlic and saute about 30 seconds more.  Add the rice and stir until the rice turns golden and the sound it makes hitting the sides of the pan changes.  This change is hard to describe but it is different.  Add the white wine and stir until it is nearly absorbed (don’t let the rice stick).  At this point you begin adding the hot chicken stock, adding enough to cover the rice mixture each time and stirring until it has been absorbed, then repeating.  After about 10 minutes, add the liquid drained from the porcini, taking care not to put in any of the grit that sometimes is at the bottom.  Chop the porcini fine and

Frozen risotto patties, ready to wrap and store.

Frozen risotto patties, ready to wrap and store.

add them, add the sautéed mushrooms and deglaze the pan with hot chicken broth, adding that to the rice as well.  Begin testing the rice at about 15 minutes by taking a grain between your teeth and crunching it.  When the rice is al dente, taste for salt.  If you have used commercial stock, you may not need any more.  Adjust the liquid as the consistency should be creamy, not runny.  Stir in freshly ground black pepper and cheese.  Serve immediately, with additional grated cheese.

Risotto Patties:  I always make the full recipe, even though there are only two of us now, because we

Risotto patty, sauteed.

Risotto patty, sauteed.

love the leftovers.  Let the risotto cool, stir in an egg or two, depending on how much you have leftover, and some additional cheese.  Form into patties, freeze on a cookie sheet and wrap individually when frozen.  Store in the freezer.  When ready to use, place the frozen patties in an olive oil glazed pan and fry on low heat, turning after about 10 minutes to brown the other side.  The patties develop a deep brown crust on the outside and remain soft inside.

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