Thursday, October 05, 2006

Risotto ai Funghi Porcini – Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

The autumn is a wonderful time of year. The temperature drops and hearty dishes appear as the savory ingredients come into season. Tartufo, Mushrooms, Cabbage are all in their own. The farm animals are plump, with their highest proportion of fat and muscle, creating flavorful and tender meats. This year’s production of Sausage, Osso Buco and the Fiorentina are now in the butcher shops.

Raffaella and I look forward to the Fall. Just over the stone and brick bridge spanning one of the canals in Milan is our favorite Fruit and Vegetable shop in piazza Baiamonti. The wooden crates positioned in front of the 200 sq. ft. store are positioned, almost haphazardly, to show the latest arrivals. Today it is mushrooms. Ovuli, Spugnole, Chiodini and, of course, Porcini. Just the sight of these little warehouses of exotic flavor makes my mouth water. I can smell the risotto cooking on the stove even before we are close enough to smell their perfume.

Porcini, as all mushrooms, are an important part of regional recipes of northern Italy. The ways to consume mushrooms is impressive but one of my favorites is in a simple risotto. I must admit that while I have had Risotto ai Porcini in many different homes, the one Raffaella makes explodes with flavor and the mushrooms maintain a consistency very similar to a tender filet. The basic ingredients are very important and for some time we were not happy with the quality of Porcini here in the US but we found both the fresh and frozen Porcini from Oregon to be very flavorful.

If using dried porcini, soak the mushrooms in water for several hours. Drain for 30 minutes before using.

Ingredients for 4 people:

400 gr. (just under 1 lb) of Arborio Rice
1 lb. Porcini Mushrooms (dried 4 oz)
2 tablespoon (40 gr.) butter
1 medium sized onion
1 clove Garlic
1 quart light meat broth
½ glass white wine ( Roero Arneis is the perfect death of this dish )
¼ lb (100 gr.) Grated Parmesan Cheese
fistful of chopped Italian Parsley
1 nut of butter (just under 1 tablespoon)


Chop the onion to a small dice.

Clean the Porcini with a brush. Wipe the mushroom vigorously with a paper towel. Cut the mushrooms into slices about ¼ inch thick.

Place the broth in a pot and heat over medium high heat. Once it comes to a boil reduce heat to maintain a simmer.

Place the butter, onion, whole garlic and mushrooms in a medium sized heavy pot on medium heat. Sauté the mix until the mushrooms release their liquid and it is reabsorbed.

Add the rice to the hot pot and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir for about two minutes until the rice is completely coated. Sprinkle the wine directly into the rice. It will steam. Continue stirring the rice until the wine has almost evaporated. Remove the Garlic.

Set the timer 20 minutes.
Add one ladle of broth (about ¾ cup). Continue stirring the rice at intervals of every 15-30 seconds. As the broth is consumed add another ladle.

Continue until the timer goes off. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the parsley and the nut of butter. Let sit for 2 minutes and serve hot! The serving hot part is very important.

Serve with a hearty wine. A beautiful choice would be a Barbaresco, a Barolo or perhaps Roero Arneis.


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Blogger Italian Wine Guy® said...

T.G.I.F?, Thank God it's Funghi?

6:27 PM

Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Unbelievable! I had that last night. One of my favourites.

7:29 PM

Blogger Miss Natalie said...

oh yum! I can't remember the last time i had a good risotto

11:32 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

IWG Funghi, savory Funghi, fresh Funghi, yummy Funghi. TGIF!

ChickyBabe Although you decided to avoid me and Italy during your recent trip around the world, we are in sync. The risotto was really, really good!

Natalie Anytime in Dallas please stop by. Raffaella will show you how she makes risotto. I think my risotto is really good but when compared to a master who started making risotto for her dolls standing on a chair in front of the stove I have to bow to the expert!

11:37 AM

Anonymous Michael said...

I must add...
There is nothing quite so liberating as hiking early morning in the forest for Porcini. Ahhhh. I'll be in Italy on Friday, and this time of year is what it is all about!

We have a beautiful Castagna/Fagetta forest where the early mornings in October are misty and anchanting. Its all about the freshPorcini for me next week.

7:35 AM

Anonymous Michael said...

What exactly is anchanting, you ask? I meant to say enchanting.

7:37 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Michael A simple mistype. You should see some of the errors I make....

I hope the trip goes well, Porcini and Tartufo...

8:45 AM


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