Dinner Rush! Wild Mushroom Risotto with Honeyed Mascarpone
Why is it that pasta is the go-to “pantry raid” dinner of choice? Sure, pasta just seems so effortless and satisfying. But here’s a fun fact: so is risotto.
Arborio rice. Stock. Some aromatics. The vegetable of your choice. Cheese. That’s pretty much all you need to have on hand to get dinner on the table. Risotto is simple to prepare and customizable to the nth degree based on your family’s tastes (basic risotto with a vegetable toppings bar, anyone?). The rice cooks in 18 minutes, and the leftovers can be repurposed into a no-brainer breaded and lightly fried cake.
This particular variation is supremely savory, with tons of fresh and dried mushrooms. Grocery stores usually have a wide variety of dried mushrooms available, so reach for the one that sounds most appealing to you; you really can’t go wrong. They can be a bit on the pricey side, but a few will go a long way, so you'll only need a small amount.
Bring the chicken stock up to a simmer over high heat. Add the dried mushrooms, lower the heat to medium-low and let the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Remove the rehydrated mushrooms from the broth, coarsely chop and reserve. Reserve the broth warm over medium-low heat.
Meanwhile, place a wide, high-sided saute pan over medium-high heat with the butter and olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and thyme, and cook until the rice begins to smell toasty, about 1 minute. Add the white wine and scrape the pan to remove any bits that may be stuck to the bottom.
Add about a quarter of the warm broth to the pan and simmer the rice, stirring often, until it absorbs all of the liquid. Continue adding the broth in batches and stirring the rice often until the rice is tender, about 18 minutes total. (NOTE: Rehydrating the mushrooms in the broth will leave some sediment in the bottom of the pan. Discard the last few splashes of broth that have collected the sediment.)
Remove the risotto from the heat and add the cheese and rehydrated mushrooms. Stir vigorously to melt the cheese and develop a creamy consistency to the risotto (the consistency can be thinned out with a few splashes of water as needed). Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
To serve, stir together the mascarpone and honey. Portion the risotto into serving bowls and garnish with the mascarpone.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Twitter & Instagram at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.