• 8 ounces or more wild mushrooms — chanterelles, black chanterelles, hedgehogs, morels or porcini
  • About 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1⁄3 cups arborio rice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Brush away any dirt and debris from the mushrooms; wash them only if necessary.
  2. Discard any soggy or mushy parts, and inspect thick-stemmed varieties well for tiny worms.
  3. Cut the mushrooms into bite-size pieces according to their shape: chanterelles and porcini lengthwise through the stems and caps, morels left whole if small and halved lengthwise if larger.
  4. Have the stock at a simmer in a saucepan.
  5. Heat the oil in a medium-sized heavy saucepan or deep skillet and sauté the onion and mushroom pieces just until the onion is translucent. (If using morels, black chanterelles or other delicately textured mushrooms, remove them from the pan at this point and add them back to the risotto for the last few minutes of cooking.)
  6. Stir in the rice and cook for a minute or two, coating it thoroughly with the oil.
  7. Add enough stock to cover the rice.
  8. Stir in the salt and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until the liquid is nearly absorbed.
  9. Continue adding stock a ladleful at a time, cooking until it is absorbed before the next addition.
  10. When the grains begin to swell, add the stock in smaller amounts, tasting a grain now and then to monitor the cooking rate. The goal is to finish with a loose, creamy mass of rice, with the center of each grain still firm.
  11. Check the seasoning, adding pepper to taste, stir in the cheese, and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a first course or side dish, 2 as an entrée

Which beer should I drink with this?

Pale or amber ale, or an ale in the Belgian “Abbey” style.

If you'd like to use dried mushrooms, soak 1 to 2 ounces dried porcini or other dried mushrooms in warm water to cover for at least 30 minutes prior to starting the risotto. Lift the soaked mushrooms out of the water and cut into bite-size pieces; proceed as in the main recipe, adding the soaked mushrooms when the onions begin to soften. Carefully decant or strain the soaking liquid and add it to the risotto with one of the early additions of stock.

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From The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook, Copyright © 2002 by Jay Harlow. Used by arrangement with Jay Harlow.

Photo: gamelaner/Flickr