Recipe Hack: Low-Prep, High-Flavour Porcini Risotto
Save time with this quick and easy risotto recipe
The slow stirring of risotto is what makes a lot of people think the dish is complicated, or lengthy, to make. But the cooking, just a method of slowly adding liquid to rice as it simmers, only takes 18 minutes. It’s the prep and ingredients that’ll slow you down.
The hurdle is the expectation of using homemade chicken stock. But if you’re bumping it up with other strong flavour, you can sidestep this: don't make stock, don't chop vegetables, a fistful of dried porcini mushrooms will give Arborio rice all the mushroom flavour you need.
I learned to cook risotto in an Italian restaurant. The immensely flavourful dried porcini mushrooms were reconstituted in hot water, then diced finely. Our shallots had to be a perfect brunoise (a uniform micro-dice) because in a fancy restaurant, diners need to see your work. At home, you just want stuff to taste good. Skip the mincing of mushrooms and boiling of chicken bones and just toss the porcinis in a blender with store-bought stock. To be thorough, I tested this recipe with just water and, though my wife was a good sport about the results, I wouldn’t recommend it. Even instant stock mix is fine. A splash of white wine is nice if you’ve got a bottle open but don’t crack one just for this. The pricey mushrooms, butter and cheese will give you all the richness you want and deserve.
Low-Prep, High-Flavour Porcini Risotto
By Corey Mintz
- 2 loose cups dried porcini mushrooms (often sold in 1 oz. packages that are about 1 cup each)
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, hot
- 3 tbsp butter, unsalted
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large, wide pan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp butter, then garlic, and sauté about 1 minute. Add rice and stir. Add porcini liquid, which will boil as it hits the pan, one ladle at a time. Stir regularly, wait until liquid is absorbed before adding more. It should take about 18 minutes to gradually add all the liquid and cook the rice. When the rice is cooked — still a slight bite to it and not yet mushy — remove it from the heat. Stir in remaining butter and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Corey Mintz is a food columnist for the Globe and Mail and TVO. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @coreymintz.