Oh, risotto. Creamy, subtle, and comforting. It might be the world’s perfect meal. Like soup, it warms you from the inside out, and is adaptable to endless flavor combinations. Tonight was the first time I used red wine, resulting in a beautiful, deep lavender color. Sliced mushrooms add heartiness, and combined with a good handful of Parmesan cheese, it was absolutely lovely. I’ve always wanted to try risotto balls – the fried dumplings using leftover risotto, but we never seem to have anything left.
One of the biggest misconceptions (stated by Mario Batali himself in this video), is that risotto must be constantly stirred. I gave into the myth for years, but tonight, my risotto was made with minimal stirring and it still turned out wonderfully. Mario serves his “almost soupy,” as he puts it. That is, when you spoon risotto onto a plate, it moves around, and the rice is suspended in the starchy broth.
Risotto with Red Wine and Mushrooms
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 medium Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup red wine
8 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
Fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
Bring broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep the broth warm over very low heat. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the wine to the toasting rice, and then add a ladle of stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Add several ladles of stock (enough to just cover the rice) and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is mostly absorbed. Continue adding stock until rice is tender and creamy, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese until well mixed. Add mushrooms and stir gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.