Risotto with porcini mushrooms

Fresh herbs, including a touch of thyme, and a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese enhance the woodsy flavor of wild mushrooms, making this dish not only outstanding and colorful, but also rich and heavenly with the addition of cream and cheese. Serve this as a main course with simple accompaniments such as steamed or roasted asparagus, or a salad of field greens with radicchio, along with a crusty baguette.


Serves 4 as a main course


1 ounce dried porcini
4 cups homemade vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano


Place the porcini in a medium bowl with 1 cup of boiling or very hot water. Let stand for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. Chop the porcini and set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the stock or broth to a simmer. Add the reserved porcini liquid.

In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated with oil, about 1 minute. Add the wine, let it come to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine mostly evaporates.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock or broth to the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice has almost completely absorbed the liquid. Adjust the heat so the risotto is kept at a slow simmer. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup of the liquid at a time, stirring until it is almost fully absorbed before adding more. Reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid for adding at the end. After about 18 minutes, the rice will be plump, creamy, and cooked through but still slightly chewy. Stir in the porcini mushrooms and the remaining 1/4 cup of the stock or broth. Stir gently and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the risotto into warmed shallow bowls. Garnish each serving with some of the cheese and serve immediately.