With the weather turning to fall, we were in the mood for a woodsy mushroom risotto last evening. The thought of the creamy rice melding with the wonderful earthy mushrooms was just perfect for an evening dinner outside under the pergola. I added some roasted chicken for protein but simply bought a roasted chicken at the market to keep it simple. Don’t be afraid to make risotto – sure it takes a few extra minutes but it all comes together quickly. Pour yourself a glass of vino and belt out Bocelli tunes while you stir – great fun! We added an earthy bottle of Chianti and a fire in the firepit and sat under the evening sky for hours enjoying the first days of fall. Buon Appetito!
Wild Mushroom and Chicken Risotto
1 cup boiling hot water
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 store-bought roasted chicken
5 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablepoons butter, divided
4 ounces shitake mushrooms, cleaned and quartered (substitute other mushrooms if you’d prefer but no white button mushrooms please!)
4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and quartered (ditto on note above)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced finely
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 cups of Arborio rice – about 14 ounces
1/4 cup good quality dry white wine (or vermouth, perhaps)
About 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
About 2 handfuls of freshly grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
1 large heavy bottomed saucepan (around 3 quart) for mushrooms and rice
1 large saucepan for the simmering broth (needs to hold 6 cups of liquid)
1. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the porcini in a little bowl. Let stand to soften the mushrooms. Set aside.
2. Shred the meat of the roasted chicken. Dice into small pieces. You will need around 2 cups and most likely have leftover chicken for another use. Set aside.
3. Bring 5 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of water to a low simmer over medium heat. Keep covered at a simmer.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in the large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat until melted and the foam subsides. Add the chopped shitake and bella mushrooms. Saute until browned – about 10 minutes.
5. Remove the porcini from the broth. Dice and add to skillet. Strain the soaking liquid and add to the saucepan. Stir and allow to come to a boil for about a minute or so. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put mushrooms in a bowl and set aside.
6. In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened. Add the diced garlic and saute for an additional minute.
7. Add the arborio rice and cook, stir occasionally, for about 1 minute to coat the grains. Add the wine or vermouth and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
8. Add in simmering broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is al dente and creamy. Stir often and after each addition, be sure to allow the liquid to absorb before adding more. This should take about 20-30 minutes and you may have leftover broth.
9. Stir in the lemon zest, chicken, and mushrooms. Stir together.
10. Add in the chopped parsley, butter, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Stir. You may want to use any leftover broth to thin the consistency of the risotto if too thick.
11. Turn out to heated serving plate. Dust with additional parmesan cheese and parsley and serve immediately. Enjoy!