Morel, Portobello and Saffron Risotto

January 10, 2012

20120110-065327.jpg Cooking a big pot of risotto is so comforting on these cold and rainy nights. The addition of these earthy mushrooms and spicy saffron really bumps up the comfort quotient. I always make more than we are going to eat for dinner, as this makes a great leftover lunch.

Chop morels and portobellos into bite sized pieces and sauté in a few tablespoons of butter in a good sized Le Creuset style pot. This is what you are going to be making the risotto in as well. Once browned, remove the mushrooms and set aside. Now add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the pot and sauté a finely chopped sweet onion and a shallot, until very lightly browned. Now add another few tablespoons of olive oil and add your 2 cups of arborio rice to the pot of onion and shallot. Stir mixture until hot and evenly coated. Now add a cup of white wine. I like to use whatever wine we will be having with the meal. Simmer until the wine is absorbed.

Add 8 cups of hot chicken stock or broth, a cup at a time, stirring constantly and adding more stock when the previous amount has become absorbed. Keep rice at a brisk simmer. Midway through the stock process, add a few pinches of saffron. The kitchen will soon become filled with the warm scent of the spicy saffron.

Before you add your last cup of stock, add back the waiting bowl of sautéed mushrooms, as well as a cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Add the last cup of stock, stir, taken off of heat, and let sit for a few minutes. It is now ready to be enjoyed!

This all should take between 20 to 30 minutes for the rice to absorb the 8 cups of liquid. The risotto should be al dente and creamy. It is a bit of work, but the reward is such a hearty, comforting and satisfying meal.