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Back in June I was lucky enough to spend a week in Florence taking cooking classes (yes, you can hate me). While I picked up a ton of really awesome— and Cheat Day-worthy— recipes, the most valuable lesson I learned was probably this one: How to make perfect risotto without standing over the steaming pot and sweating your face off the whole time. Or, the secret to easy, delicious risotto. As the Italians say, "Iffa you don't stir the risotto atta the begin, you don'ta need to stir the risotto." Or, in other words, if you fight the urge to stir the risotto from the beginning it never sticks to the pan. Seriously. But if you start stirring, you have to keep stirring the entire time. Unbelievable? Yes. But true.
Recipe: Mushroom Risotto (aka Risotto ai funghi)
What You'll Need:
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
1 large shallot or 1 small onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pint baby bella mushrooms
A handful of porcini mushrooms
A small handful of morels
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
What to Do:
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the broth plus ½ cup water to a simmer. Rehydrate any dried mushrooms in the broth.
- Slice the baby bella mushrooms and roughly chop the porcinis and morels.
- In a second medium saucepan, melt 2 tbsp. butter, and then add the onion or shallot, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent.
- Add the rice and stir to combine. Allow the rice to toast for about a minute and then add the wine. Now, stop stirring. Once the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes, add ½ cup of hot broth.
- Still, don’t stir. Allow the broth to absorb almost completely, and then add another ½ cup of broth. Continue adding the broth ½ cup at a time waiting for it to evaporate each time.
- When there’s about 1 addition of broth left, add the mushrooms to the risotto and stir. From here on out, continue stirring constantly. Add the final addition of broth, stirring, and allow it to absorb.
- Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the remaining butter, 2 tbsp. parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve topped with remaining parmesan. Serves 6 as sides or 3-4 as an entrée.
Tip: For an extra kick of sweetness, add 1 1/2 cups grated butternut squash cooked for 5 minutes in 2 tbsp. melted butter.