Risotto with saffron and mushrooms is a real treat. The rice used is Arborio, from Italy, although most supermarkets carry it these days. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world – but fear not. You can usually find very small amounts of saffron in markets like Trader Joe’s. Luckily you don’t need much.
You may have heard about having to stand over a hot stove for 20 minutes constantly stirring risotto. I’m here to tell you that’s just not true. Risotto is very popular in Italy, and it’s a popular family dish in Northern Italy. Do you really see an Italian mother standing over a stove for 20 minutes constantly stirring rice? No? Either did I, especially when I had my own small child that I needed to watch.
So, here’s what I found out. Yes, you do have to stir, but not constantly. When you add liquid, you have to stir. But you only need to add liquid once the rice has absorbed what you put in. That takes about 7 minutes. Before everything was streaming, and we had commercials on television, I discovered that the time to stir was just about the same time as when the scene ended and a commercial came on.
Every stove is different. You will know when it is time to add more liquid when you can make a streak in the pan with a spoon and see the bottom of the pan. You will get your own rhythm and making risotto with saffron and mushrooms will become automatic.
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon shallots in oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- pinch saffron threads
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, good freshly grated
- Have ready a large sauté pan and a large saucepan, each able hold 2 quarts of liquid. You will also need a ladle.
- In the saucepan, put the chicken stock. Heat it to just about boiling, then reduce to a simmer. You will be using the ladle to add the stock to the rice.
- In the meantime, put the sauté pan on the fire, and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallots. Sauté until they are translucent. Add the onions, and sauté until they are translucent. Add the mushrooms, and let them brown a bit as you sauté them.
- Add the rice sauté it, stirring the whole while so that all the grains of rice are well coated with the butter mixture.
- Add the glass of wine, and stir continuously until the wine has started to evaporate. You should be able to run a spoon down the center of the rice and see the pan. Reduce the heat to low.
- Start adding one to two ladles of the stock at this point. The rice should be just covered with stock, not immersed.
- Add the saffron threads, rubbing them in your fingers as you do.
- Stir until the stock starts to evaporate, and then add more stock.
- You will be stirring and adding more stock until almost all the stock is gone, and the rice is cooked through. It should have developed a nice creaminess.
- Have a nice serving dish ready. Make sure that any other foods you are going to serve with the risotto area ready. Make sure everyone who is going to be eating as ready, too. If they are not, you can take the risotto off the flame and set it aside, covered and kept warm.
- Put the cheese into the rice, and stir all completely, then put in a nice serving dish.
- Creamy Risotto is Served
- Enjoy, and remember – we wait for Risotto – Risotto does not wait for us!