- 4 ounces unsalted butter (have extra on hand if you like it buttery)
- 1 pound assorted mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 12 ounces Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 5 cups good quality, clear chicken broth
- 6 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: 1/2 cup dry white or red wine
- Prepare the mushrooms: If using portabellas, remove the stem by gently twisting it off of the cap. Using a dinner spoon, scrape away all the gills from the underside of the caps, as these will discolor the finished risotto. Cut them into pieces about a third larger than you want their final cooked size to be. Oyster mushrooms and shiitakes must also be de-stemmed and gently cleaned. If you are using wild mushrooms, extra care must be used in cleaning. You may use dried mushrooms by re-hydrating them in water, reserving the water- carefully straining- to be added to the risotto.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over high heat; lower the heat and maintain at a simmer.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, melt half the butter until foaming. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms "throw" their water. Continue cooking until the water is cooked off.
- Add the onions, stirring frequently, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent (do not allow the onions to brown).
- Add the rice to the onions and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, or until the rice begins to stick to the pan (do not allow the rice to brown).
- If using wine: Stir the wine into the rice and cook, stirring, until the wine has been absorbed by the rice. Stir in 1/2 cup of the simmering broth. Cook at a very low boil, stirring frequently, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed (about 3 to 5 minutes). Continue adding broth in this fashion, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until the grains of rice are tender and pearly yet still firm in the center (about 25 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the cheese; season with salt and pepper to taste.