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Mushroom Month: Porcini Risotto Recipe

 
Getty Images

Getty Images

Did you know it's #MushroomMonth? What better way to celebrate it than with a hearty Porcini Risotto! As a Hotel in the Alps, we find that our Alpine area is highly abundant in Porcini mushrooms (Also known as boletus edulis) – during this season, many people head out to the forests and forage through the undergrowth and bushes to locate a mycelium of the finest and freshest Italian mushrooms. Harvested by hand, Porcini mushrooms are known to be a premium product that tends to have a higher price tag, especially if you purchase it from outside Italy or when it's out of season. Pellegrino Artusi, the Italian food writer once said in his book "Every year come September, the price drops and I stock up on porcini." he said this likely due to the very short growing season of the mushroom.

The ingredient itself has a rich, umami taste that is exceptionally versatile, perfect for sauces, stews and a general replacement for meat. If you are trying to identify mushrooms for foraging, keep in mind that the porcini has a firm white stalk with a broad, brown cap, and sometimes have a yellowish tint underneath. In our Alpine Hotel, we source our porcini mushrooms locally as they are highly abundant, look at the picture above! They were found near our hotel. After collecting mushrooms, we include them in many of our Italian dishes in our Restaurant in the Alps; we have dishes such as 'Tagliatelle Ai Funghi Porcini', 'Sauteed Porcini Mushrooms' and 'Crispy Egg with Porcini'. Delicious! 

One of the best recipes that incorporate the porcini is Porcini Risotto! It is a relatively simple vegetarian recipe that can serve up to 4 people. And because of the upcoming autumn season, this the perfect dish to warm you up as the temperature gets colder.


THE RECIPE

1.         Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in a large, heatproof bowl in boiling water for about 10-20 minutes until soft (If you are using fresh porcini, just give it a rinse). Drain the liquid into another bowl and squeeze the mushrooms dry, then transfer the mushrooms on a chopping board. Roughly chop them into smaller pieces and set aside.

 

2.         Pour the mushroom liquid into a saucepan and combine it with the stock, stirring it under low heat while you prepare the rest of the risotto.

 

3.         Pour and heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, sauté them until translucent and fragrant, 2-3 minutes.

 

4.         Stir in the chopped mushrooms and season it with salt and pepper, sauté it shortly then add the Arborio rice and let them cook for a minute or two. After that, add the white wine, stirring it then let it bubble and evaporate.

 

5.         Pour a ladle of the warm stock and stir until the rice has completely absorbed it. Continue, adding the stock gradually until the rice is al dente and submerged in a thick, creamy sauce, it shouldl take about 20 minutes. If you find the rice is undercooked even after finishing the stock, add a splash of water.

 

6.         Once the rice is cooked, reduce the heat slightly and stir in the butter and sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese and place a handful of chopped parsley leaves.

 

7.         Cover it once more, allowing it to absorb the leftover liquid for a few more minutes then give it a final stir. Season it with salt and pepper, add a bit more cheese if needed and give it a dash of truffle-infused oil – then serve immediately!

What You Will Need

· 2 ounces of dried Porcini Mushrooms (Or fresh if you have access)

· 2 cups of water

· 1 vegetable stock

· 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

· 1 onion, finely chopped

· 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

· 2 cups of risotto rice (Arborio preferably)

· ½ cup of dry white wine

· 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold

· a handful of parsley leaves, chopped

· 1 cup of parmesan, Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano

· Truffle infused olive oil, to serve

· Salt and pepper to taste

 

 

 


ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR THE PERFECT RISOTTO:

· If you don't have access to porcini – any mushroom will do! There are also different ways you can obtain porcini; fresh, dried, frozen or even canned.

· The broth is essential for added-flavour, don't ignore it.

 · The perfect rice consistency is cooked, but firm, you do not want it to be mushy nor chalky. Experts advise the cooking time to be 14 to 16 minutes.


Voila! Now you've got all the knowledge and tips you need to make the perfect porcini risotto. Want to experience fresh porcini? Stay at Albergo Miramonti where you can Hike in the Alps, enjoy our Hotel Spa and even relax in our Cigar Lounge.

For more articles about Italian Cuisine, read the blog:

·             Northern Italian Cuisine: Polenta

·             Valtellina Cuisine: Top Dishes and Specialties to Try

·             Cheese You Should Try in Lombardy, Northern Italy

 
FoodPatricia Sanchez