MoM Feb ‘09 Food & Wine: Wild Mushroom & Red Wine Risotto

We’re in the final stretch for the January Magazine of the Month, the February 2009 edition of Food & Wine Magazine. It’s been a fun trip through the mag thus far, as I’ve picked up a few dishes and desserts that I’ll be making again for a while.

Food & Wine February 2009

Although I’ve only started making risotto recently, it’s already won me over. A risotto doesn’t just have to be something served on the side. A bowl of it is perfect for a dinner alongside a glass of wine, it’s served warm, easy to prepare, and can be made with a myriad of variations. One basic recipe can turn into many.

Wild Mushroom-and-Red Wine Risotto F&W Pic

If you’ve been following the MoM thus far, you’ll already know this is exactly where our Wild Mushroom & Red Wine Risotto came from. One Milanese Risotto in the Tasting & Testing section spawned three different variations. We’ve already covered the Fennel-and-Sausage Risotto, a delicious twist that I’ve deemed a keeper recipe. Now for it’s sibling.

Wild Mushroom-and-Red Wine Risotto
Courtesy of Food & Wine February2009

5 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

I was serving this as a side dish so what you’re seeing in my photos is the recipe halved.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Keep warm.

Simmering Chicken Broth

For the stock, I use a pot that is equipped for pouring. Whenever I use a regular saucepan, I spill the liquid all over the stove. The other way to do that would be to use an actual measuring cup to pour it in, but I figured, why dirty up another utensil when I’ve got this?

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Onion for Risotto

Salt. I’ve mentioned this before, and I think it’s worth mentioning again that I’m not big on adding additional salt until I know what I’m dealing with. I didn’t add any salt to the onion for this because every time I make risotto, I think the flavoring ends up just fine. Somehow the added Parmigiano-Reggiano and butter at the end gives me enough for my palette, so I don’t add any. But that’s just a personal thing.

Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Self explanatory with the obligatory picture. I was considering taking the picture out, but it just looks so good.

Adding the Arborio

Add the wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed.

This was pretty cool to watch, because it was fun that the risotto turned purple. As the wine was absorbed and the alcohol cooked off, the color faded substantially.

Adding Wine

Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 20 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.

Again, I didn’t do the additional salt and pepper. I just let nature take its course.

Soaking Up Broth

Meawhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and shallot, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 10 minutes.

Mushrooms & Shallots in Butter

I couldn’t find any wild mushrooms for this. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for. So, I’ll confess, I “Rachel Ray’d” this and grabbed a pre-washed carton of baby bellas from my grocery store. AND I’M PROUD OF IT!

Scrape the mushrooms into the risotto and stir in the cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Finished Product in the Pot

Mmm…

Ready for the close up, on the plate:

Wild Mushroom-and-Red Wine Risotto

Mushroom lovers like me should be pleased with this dish. I think I liked this. While I was trying to decide how I felt about it, I kept eating it. Before I knew it, I had polished off what I had on my plate. I loved the addition of the mushrooms, but I really didn’t get the taste of the red wine in there. That is most likely my fault, as I used a generic red cooking wine. Next time I will try something different — Food & Wine recommends an “intense, blackberry-scented red: 2006 Le Terraze Rosso Conero.” If I changed the wine, I’d probably love it but, as is, I only just liked it. Looks like I’m going to have to make it again before I decide just how much.

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