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One dish that for some reason has always intimidated me, for what I know is silly, is risotto. Well, I am officially not intimidated anymore. Last Friday I paired my version of Barefoot Contessa’s Wild Mushroom Risotto with Chicken Marsala, and I honestly found it to be better than I could have ever imagined.
What I love about this dish is that you can serve it as a side or as the main course. Paired with a sangiovese wine, this is a very full and hearty dish that I have a feeling will impress your taste buds.
How I modified the below recipe:
*I eliminated the morels and added an extra ounce of cremini mushrooms. I also a total of 6 cups of chicken stock instead of the 2 cups of mushroom water that is suggested.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Barefoot Contessa – Back to Basics cookbook
1 ounce dried morel mushrooms
½ pound fresh porcini or cremini mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
½ cup chopped shallots (3 shallots)
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1. Place the dried morels in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes. Scoop the morels from the water with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. You should have 2 cups; if not, add water to make 2 cups. Drain the morels and rinse once more. If some of the mushrooms are large, cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Pour the mushroom liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel, discarding the gritty solids. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside separately.
2. Meanwhile, remove and discard the stems of the porcini and rub any dirt off the caps with a damp paper towel. Don’t rinse them! Slice thickly and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock with the 2 cups of reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer.
4. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the pancetta and shallots over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the morels and porcini and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of the chicken stock mixture to the rice plus the saffron, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock mixture, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more of the stock mixture.
5. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes total. When done, the risotto should be thick and creamy and not at all dry. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot in bowls with extra cheese.