Risotto is one of the dishes that I can make when I don't have the ingredients or inclination to make anything else. I'm almost always in the mood for it and always have the basic ingredients on hand.
This recipe is based on my standard risotto recipe, but with the addition of strong mushroom flavors. I've made a stock for it before with shiitake and oyster mushroom stems, but I made this one with a pack of dried wild mushrooms from Trader Joe's and really liked the result. The flavor was hearty and the roasted rehydrated mushrooms made a great topping. We had a meal of arugula salad with truffle oil, parmesan, and fleur de sel followed by this risotto. It felt like being in a restaurant! Except that I had to clean up afterward. But risotto is a one dish- (and one or two Pyrex measuring cup-) meal, which means clean-up was easy.
If you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby (or they're not available; the mushrooms are only stocked in the few months before and after Christmas), check for a dried mushroom blend that at the very least contains shiitake and oyster mushrooms (international markets are a good place to look). Just under an ounce (by weight) is really just a couple of handfuls. Also, I added a bit of Maggi at the end to pump up the flavor a bit.
The consistency when finished should be creamy, but not soupy. It should be able to stand on its own in a lump on the plate without spreading out thin.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
1 package Trader Joe’s dried wild mushroom mix (or just under 1 ounce dried shiitake and/or oyster mushrooms)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup diced white or yellow onion or shallot
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot vegetable stock
About 15-30 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking, heat the two cups of water until almost boiling. Remove from heat (or microwave) and drop in the mushrooms to soak. Soak for at least 15 minutes to rehydrate and make a stock. Once done, remove mushrooms to a small bowl and press with a spoon to squeeze out excess water into the container of stock.
Add the butter and oil to a large saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add onion, stir and cook until transluscent, about three minutes.
Add the rice and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring to coat with the oil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in half a cup of mushroom broth and salt and stir frequently until all liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the remaining broth (including hot vegetable broth) a half a cup at a time, stirring occasionally, until it has all been absorbed before adding the next half-cup. It should take about 30 minutes.
Optional: stir in a couple of dashes of Maggi, Bragg’s or tamari for a little boost of flavor.
While the risotto is cooking, place the mushrooms on a cookie sheet or baking pan, coat with olive oil and roast at 400F 10-20 minutes until desired crispness or roastedness. Sprinkle roasted mushrooms evenly over portions and serve immediately.