Risotto Topped with Mushrooms
I resisted making risotto for years, thinking it would keep me tied to the stove all day. After a cooking lesson with Johnny Zhu, I discovered that’s not the case and have been making it ever since! It’s a great dish for a dinner party because the day before your event you can cook it half way, put it on a baking sheet to cool, cover, and refrigerate it overnight. When your guests have arrived, put the remaining stock on the stove and bring it to a simmer. Put the risotto in a large pot, and finish the dish.
This is what I call a great “base” dish. Start out with the risotto, then combine it with something that will help it pair with a wine. For example, top the finished risotto with some sauteed mushrooms and maybe a drizzle of truffle oil, and you have a great dish to match with a Pinot Noir. This recipe is adapted from Nick Stellino’s Glorious Italian Cooking.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to keep it warm. You will be adding it to the risotto later.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggianno cheese
- 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese (shhhh, Johnny says this is the secret ingredient!)
In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. After the butter has melted, add the minced onion and cook until it is translucent. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, cooking until it is fragrant. Add the rice and stir about 2 minutes so that it gets coated by the oil. Increase the heat to medium high and add the wine and salt. Stir until the wine is evaporated. Add a ladle full of the warm stock, and stir until almost evaporated.Continue to add a ladle full of stock at a time until the risotto is cooked. You can take a test bite after about 15 minutes to see if it’s still too tough, in which case you would add more stock. When the rice is tender, take the pot off the heat and stir in the cheeses. Let the risotto rest for 5 minutes before serving.
The best approach here is to first decide what wine you plan on serving, and then figure out what herbs or sauces will create a “bridge” between the food and the wine.
To enjoy this dish with a Merlot, add Herbs de Provence during preparation, then top the finished risotto with a braised fennel sauce. We like this preparation with Northstar Merlot.
Prefer a white wine? Top the finished risotto with langoustines or prawns that have been sauteed in garlic and butter, then serve with a Chardonnay such as Rulo Winery’s Birch Creek Chardonnay.
Top the risotto with Fairbank’s Portabello Pieces and serve an earthy Pinot Noir alongside.
Feel like drinking a Cabernet Sauvignon? Pair your cab with risotto cakes made from leftover risotto, and a romesco sauce for dipping. Simply form risotto into patties using a 1/4 cup measuring cup (I use the measuring cup like a mold). Dredge each patty in breadcrumbs then refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Fry the patties on each side in about 1/4 inch of oil until golden, drain on paper towels, and serve with romesco alongside.
Have fun experimenting with different pairings. You could even make a party of it! Select several different bottles of wine, make one pot of risotto, and pass around several sauces or bridge items for your guests to try on top of the risotto. Your guests can help you decide which pairings work best. What a fun, easy dinner party!