Winter weekend mushroom and cheese risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that takes a lot of time if you’re making it at home.  It’s totally worth it.  This recipe makes a huge batch — enough to last the family through a winter weekend — making the time investment even more worthwhile.

Risotto can be a side dish or entire meal.  It’s only going to be as good as the wine and broth you put into it, so pick a wine you’d like to drink for the risotto.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 C  Arborio rice
  • 2 oz dried mushrooms (your preference; I use whatever I can easily find)
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced (your choice; I typically use Baby Bellas or even chopped Portobellos as they’re more substantial)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 C grated parmesan
  • 6 oz grated cheese (your preference; I often use half Fontina and half Gorgonzola.  Avoid, say, cheddar or mozzarella unless that’s all you’ve got, and don’t go with all hard cheeses or anything too watery)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C white wine (any, though lighter wines like a Reisling may not contribute as much flavor as even a cheap Chardonnay)
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 8 C chicken stock


  • In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the dried mushrooms and remove the pan from heat; set aside for 30 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.  Remove the mushrooms; chop and set aside.
  • Move the chicken stock to low heat and keep it at a simmer.  (This is important; adding low-temperature liquid to the risotto will cool it down, resulting in crunchy risotto.)
  • In a wok, melt 3 TBS butter over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, onions, and reconstituted mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice, stirring well to coat with the butter.
  • Add the wine.  Simmer, stirring until the wine has evaporated.
  • Add about 3/4 C of the simmering stock, stirring the rice mixture occasionally (not constantly) to prevent sticking.  Continue adding 3/4 C of stock at a time until all the stock is incorporated into the rice.
  • Add fresh mushrooms when about 1 1/2 C of stock remains.
  • Remove the risotto from heat. Add salt, pepper, and cheese; stir well.
  • Allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes.  Serve.

If you don’t care for a vegetarian meal, adding some Prosciutto after the risotto is cooked adds some flavor and goes well with the other ingredients.  Shirley Sarvis has some great tips on risotto over at that are worth a read as well.

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