This creamy mushroom risotto recipe is easier to make than you’d think, with dried and fresh mushrooms for a whole lot of flavor and far less stirring and tending.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto
Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, risotto doesn’t have to be an intensive, time-consuming labor of love. For years I only ordered it at restaurants because I was intimidated by making it at home. But, after a friend confidently made a delicious risotto for a dinner party a few years ago, I knew I needed to master my risotto game.
With research, testing and trial and error, I discovered this savory mushroom risotto recipe doesn’t actually require constant stirring or eagle-eyed babysitting. In fact, it can be ready to eat in just about 45 minutes or so, served as a first course to classic Italian dishes like chicken marsala or chicken piccata, or as a side dish for this easy pork tenderloin, a juicy steak, or a lemon and rosemary roasted chicken. Or, serve it as the main meal with a simple salad.
This classic preparation of the medium-grain Italian rice is simmered and stirred (but not constantly!) in a mushroom-infused, chicken stock broth to create a velvety, creamy melding of rice and a variety of soft-cooked mushrooms.
What Mushroom Risotto Is Made Of
A combination of dried mushrooms and fresh mushrooms are cooked then added to the rice as stock is slowly added and absorbed into the rice. Adding butter and Parmesan cheese at the end of cooking transforms into a creamy rice dish that doesn’t actually call for any cream.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Dried mushrooms such as porcini, shiitake, or morel mushrooms. 1/2 ounce is a lot more dried mushrooms than you may think!
- Fresh mushrooms in an assortment of varieties
- Italian medium grain arborio or Caranoli rice
- Chicken broth or chicken stock simmered with additional water for more balanced flavor
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Garlic cloves
- White wine, such as sauvignon blanc
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Flat leaf parsley
The Best Mushrooms for Mushroom Risotto
Why does this risotto call for dried mushrooms? In this recipe, dried mushrooms are hydrated in water to infuse the rice’s cooking broth with more mushroom flavor. The hydrated mushrooms are separated from the mushroom broth, then chopped and added to the fresh mushrooms. The reserved mushroom broth is strained, then added to the chicken stock and water for cooking the rice.
Types of dried mushrooms for risotto: Use dried porcini, shiitake, or morel mushrooms for their intense flavor punch.
Types of fresh mushrooms for risotto: Any mushroom will work for risotto, but for the most texture and flavor, I like a combination of baby bella brown mushrooms, cremini, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms.
The Best Rice for Risotto
Medium-grain rice varieties work best for risotto. To ensure freshness, look for rice that has been vacuum-packed bags for best flavor.
- Arborio rice: An Italian variety of medium-grain rice, arborio rice produces a tender but firm bite and texture, and is widely available at supermarkets or online here.
- Carnaroli rice: Also farmed in Italy, Carnaroli rice has a higher starch content that produces a creamier risotto that’s harder to mess up and overcook. It can be found at Italian specialty stores or online here.
How to Make Mushroom Risotto
In the Northern part of Italy bordering dairy-loving France and Switzerland, risotto is nearly as popular as pasta. It is traditionally served as the “primo”, or first course. But when loaded with tender, mushrooms, it can also become a tasty and delicious main meal.
First, create a mushroom-infused broth. Add more mushroom flavor to this dish by steeping 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms in hot water for 20-30 minutes. Dried mushrooms don’t weigh much, so you’ll need more than you think you might. Strain the mushrooms, squeeze the liquid from them, then combine the mushroom liquid with the chicken broth. Coarsely chop the hydrated mushrooms to cook with the fresh mushrooms later.
Dilute the chicken broth with water. Warmed chicken broth adds depth, salt, and flavor to this dish, but you don’t want it to take over the mushroom vibe. Instead, use equal amounts chicken broth and water with the mushroom infused water.
The Cooking Method
Cook the mushrooms separately from the rice. A variety of mushrooms are cooked juicy and tender before combining with the rice. Doing so adds more savory mushroom flavor to the base.
Stir fry the rice in olive oil to coat each grain in a film of fat. Stir fry the rice in the olive oil until it’s fragrant and the grains are coated in fat. The helps so the dish doesn’t become gummy or mushy. Add the onion and cook until soft to lend a savory sweetness to this dish.
Add the wine all at once to the rice. Adding the wine before adding the broth cooks off the alcohol but retains the flavor as it is absorbed into the rice. to be absorbed by the grains.
Cook the Rice By the Ladleful
Add the warmed, infused chicken stock in batches to the rice. When added in batches, the warmed mushroom-infused chicken broth adds depth and saltiness to each grain of rice as it is absorbed. I have homemade chicken stock in my fridge or freezer all of the time.
To avoid constant stirring, add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the warmed broth, or enough so it covers the rice, and simmer for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Continue adding about 1/2 cup of the broth at a time, stirring more often as the broth is absorbed to keep it from doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and so the starches release from the rice.
After about 20 minutes, taste test for doneness. I prefer my risotto with a softer, creamier chew but some prefer a firmer bite. Taste for doneness and continue cooking until you find it to your liking.
How to Make Risotto Creamy
Create the creaminess with the last of the broth, butter, and grated Parmesan cheese. Once the risotto is done to your liking, remove from the heat, add a last ladle of broth, and vigorously stir in the butter and cheese to create the creamy sauce.
Removing the rice from the heat before adding the dairy helps ensure the dish won’t become gummy. Add a little more warmed broth to loosen the rice as needed.
Enhance the flavor of this classic mushroom risotto even more with:
- Drizzle a few teaspoons of truffle oil when adding the butter and Parmesan cheese
- Add fresh chopped rosemary or thyme to the mushrooms when sautéeing
- Add a pinch of saffron to the cooking rice for a unique, sweet and pungent flavoring.
What to Serve With Mushroom Risotto
- 40 Cloves of Garlic Roast Chicken
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Easy Pork Tenderloin
- Filet Mignon With Porcini Mushroom Compound Butter
- Easy Chicken Marsala
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
The BEST Mushroom Risotto
A combination of dried mushrooms and fresh mushrooms are cooked then added to the rice as stock is slowly added and absorbed into the rice. Adding butter and Parmesan cheese at the end of cooking transforms into a creamy rice dish that doesn't actually call for any cream.
- 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms , such as morels, porcini, or shiitake
- 5 cups water , divided
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 pound mushrooms , such as baby bellas, shiitake, oyster
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt , divided
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , divided
- 2 cups arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 1 cup minced yellow onion , about 1/2 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic , minced or pressed
- 1 cup dry white wine , such as Sauvignon blanc
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley , chopped
Place the dried mushrooms in a medium bowl. Boil 2 cups of water and pour it over the mushrooms. Let sit for 20 minutes for the mushrooms to hydrate and the water to infuse with the mushroom flavor. Remove the hydrated mushrooms from the water and squeeze the mushrooms well. Coarsely chop the hydrated mushrooms and set aside.
Strain the mushroom water, discarding any sand or grit, and pour into a large saucepan with the chicken broth and the remaining 3 cups of water. Bring to a simmer.
Chop the mushrooms into thick slices. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy dutch oven or high sided skillet over medium high heat and add the mushrooms with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook until the mushrooms begin to become tender and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the hydrated mushrooms and continue cooking while stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and juicy. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan over medium heat. Stir in the rice so the grains are evenly coated, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until the rice becomes toasted and fragrant. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion softens, for another 2 minutes, and season with the remaining salt. Add the cooked mushrooms and stir to combine.
Add the wine and black pepper to the rice mixture, stirring until the wine is absorbed by the rice, about 2 minutes. Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the warm mushroom broth and simmer, stirring about every 3 minutes until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Continue cooking and adding more broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as the rice absorbs the broth and the bottom of the pan begins to dry out, adding more broth so the rice doesn't stick or burn.
After about 25 minutes, the rice should be cooked tender to the bite but with a slightly chewy center. When the rice is tender with just a scant amount of broth still in the pan, remove the rice from the heat. Add a ladle of broth and stir in the butter, Parmesan cheese, and the lemon juice. Stir until the butter and cheese melts into the last of the broth to create a creamy texture. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper as needed. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with more olive oil if desired, and serve.
• To make this risotto vegetarian, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken broth.
More Risotto and Rice Recipe Ideas
- Sweet Corn, Gouda and Farro Risotto
- Easy Lemon Rice Recipe
- Easy Lemon Orzo Faux Risotto
- Thai Coconut Chicken and Rice
- One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Rice
- Spanish Chicken and Rice Recipe
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