Courtesy of Chef Vittorio Ettore, Bistro 5, Medford This is one of those dishes where using your judgment and paying attention to consistency is more critical than following the recipe step by step.
Serves two main courses or four appetizers.
1 cup of Arborio rice 1 shallot minced 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 quart chicken stock 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms of your preference (shiitake and oyster mushrooms are easy to find and flavorful) 1/4 stick butter (cut in small cubes) 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese 1 dash extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon cut chives or chopped parsley
Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add in the dried porcini mushrooms. Set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat the butter and add the shallots; slowly “sweat” for about 2 minutes. When the shallots are translucent, add the rice. Turn up the heat to medium high to slightly toast the rice without giving any color.
The rice will now begin to fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent, having absorbed all the flavors from the shallots and the butter.
Add the white wine and keep stirring. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.
Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot chicken/porcini stock (you should add as much stock as needed to just barely cover the rice). Keep adding ladles of stock, stirring and allowing each ladle of liquid to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Taste the rice as you go along for salt and doneness. Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a bite.
Right before the rice is al dente, have another sautéing pan hot and ready to sear the fresh mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms until lightly brown and set aside to be served on top of the risotto.
To finish the risotto, remove from the heat and add the butter in small bits, Parmesan cheese and a dash of extra-virgin olive oil; stir to create an emulsion.
Serve the risotto on a platter or in a baked pumpkin or squash; top off with the sautéed mushrooms, feel free to grate or shave Parmesan cheese and if you happen to have some truffle oil hiding around….drizzle it!!! To elevate this dish from superb to sublime.
The finished risotto should be creamy, al dente and almost runny or oozy. Check for consistency and add stock if it is too dry.
Il risotto e pronto! Eat as soon as possible while the risotto retains its perfect texture.