To serve: 4
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
A one-ounce packet dried porcini (25 g, about a packed half cup)
1/2 of a small onion, finely sliced or shallot
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, or: 3 tablespoons olive oil + 1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups (300 g) short-grained rice, for example Arborio or Carnaroli
1/3 cup dry white wine, warmed in a pan on the stove (use red wine if you like more strong flavor)
1 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
The water the mushrooms were soaked in, strained, and a quart of simmering water, beef broth, or vegetable bouillon
A bunch of parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Steep the porcini in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the onion finely and sauté it in either three tablespoons of oil or 1/4 cup of butter. When it's lightly browned remove it to a plate with a slotted spoon and stir the rice into the drippings in the pot. Sauté the rice for several minutes, until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly lest it stick and burn.
Return the onions to the pot, stir in the wine, and continue stirring until it has evaporated completely. Then stir in a first ladle of liquid (if you're using plain water, add about 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt at this time), and while it's absorbing, chop the mushrooms and strain the liquid they soaked in, which can contain sand. Add the mushrooms and their liquid to the rice, and then continue adding water or broth a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally. About five minutes before the rice is done, check seasoning. As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the remaining butter, and half the cheese, the cream if you're using it (DON’T USE), a little bit of ground pepper, the parsley, and mix (mantecare) the risotto for two minutes. Serve with the remaining grated cheese.
A light red, along the lines of a Sangiovese di Romagna or a Valcalepio Rosso would be nice.
For a libidinous treat, use fresh wild mushrooms. If you have abundance, and the mushrooms have large caps, I would use just the stems, chopping them, while grilling the caps (they're wonderful over a steak). If you don't have abundance, or the caps are small, use them too, and figure about a pound of wild mushrooms for four people