Creamy mushroom risotto is a typical traditional recipe of Italian cuisine. A great classic that can be found in many Italian regions.
Mushroom risotto is a great comfort food. Like pumpkin risotto, it’s perfect for early cold weather and fall days.
Mushroom risotto is a simple but at the same time sophisticated and stylish dish. This is why it’s perfect for any occasion: from a family lunch to a festive dinner with special guests.
The most appropriate rice varieties for this recipe are Arborio or Carnaroli. They are rich in starch from which comes the creaminess of the risotto, without the addition of cream!
You can prepare it with fresh mushrooms, which will give off a more delicate aroma. Or with dried mushrooms, which have a more intense flavor. They are very handy because you can have them stored in your pantry to have on hand at all times.
For the success of the dish, it’s important that the mushrooms are of excellent quality and well cleaned.
If you do not have fresh mushrooms, in addition to dried ones, frozen mushrooms are excellent.
So to make the best Italian mushroom risotto, we recommend excellent quality rice, then some fresh mushrooms, hot vegetable broth and a final “mantecatura” with butter and parmigiano cheese, so that your mushroom risotto is creamy, rich, and inviting.
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How to Make Mushroom Risotto Recipe
- Prep Time: 30 Min
- Cook Time: 30 Min
- Servings: 6
- 450 g (1 pound) of mixed mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 shallot
- 1.5 liters (about 6 cups) of vegetable broth
- 400 g (2 cups) of Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 50 g (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter
- 100 ml (about 1/2 cup) of dry white wine
- 120 g (1 1/3 cups) of grated Parmigiano cheese
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- a pinch of ground black pepper (optional)
- a pinch of salt
- a bunch of chopped fresh parsley
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
Use a non stick stainless steel large pan or aluminum frying pan to cook risotto, with one or two handles and a 6-8 cm (2-3 inch) high edge.
Use wooden spoons to mix the risotto, which are safer for non-stick cookware. We recommend this beechwood risotto spoon by Cuisinart or this handmade risotto spoon, made from one piece of solid cherry hardwood.
This last one in particular can be an original gift idea for friends who love to cook!
We also point out these handy mushroom cleaning utensils that contain both the brush and a special tool for removing the parts to discard.
Make the Broth
Step 1) – First, prepare a vegetable broth: you will need it to cook the risotto. You can prepare it the day before and store in the refrigerator. Reheat when needed. Simmer slowly to keep it hot at all times while cooking the risotto.
TIP: To make your broth even more flavorful, if you use fresh mushrooms, you can add a few stems you discarded when cleaning the mushrooms to the broth.
Clean the Mushrooms
Step 2) – If you are using fresh mushrooms, first clean them!
Scrape them gently until all traces of soil and any damaged parts are removed. Then clean them externally with a damp cloth and appropriate brush.
This step is essential to have clean mushrooms without getting them wet. In fact, you should never wash the mushrooms! Since they are very spongy, they absorb water and become mushy, losing much of their flavor.
Once cleaned, they can be cut into slices or chunks according to your taste.
Cook the Mushrooms
Step 3) – In a frying pan, sauté the garlic with the oil. After a few minutes, add the sliced mushrooms.
If you like to use some Porcini, add them after cooking the other mushrooms for about three minutes (see the paragraph below “What Kind of Mushrooms Should I Use to Make the Authentic Italian Mushroom Risotto Recipe?”).
Step 4) – Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes or so over medium heat until they are soft and the released water has evaporated.
When cooked, add salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir and set aside.
Now finely chop the shallot and sauté it in a saucepan with the butter and a drizzle of oil.
Make the Risotto
Step 5) – Add the rice and stir gently so that it toasts evenly for a couple of minutes.
Step 6) – Add the white wine and let it evaporate over high heat.
Then add enough hot broth to cover all the rice and, stirring constantly, continue cooking over medium heat.
Step 7) – Halfway through cooking the rice (about 8 minutes), add the cooked mushrooms.
Stir and continue cooking the risotto. Add more boiling broth if necessary as the rice absorbs it.
Carnaroli or Arborio rice have a cooking time of 14 to 18 minutes.
Step 8) – When the mushroom risotto is ready, remove the pan from the heat and add chopped parsley, a knob of butter and grated Parmigiano cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon.
Your Italian mushroom risotto is ready to be served, hot and creamy.
How to Store Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom risotto will keep for up to a couple of days in the refrigerator sealed in an airtight container.
You can reheat it in the microwave or stir-fry with a knob of butter.
We don’t recommend freezing.
What Kind of Mushrooms Should I Use to Make Authentic Italian Mushroom Risotto Recipe?
To make mushroom risotto, it’s best to use fresh, seasonal mushrooms because they have a more intense flavor. But even with frozen or dried mushrooms you can make an excellent mushroom risotto!
As a quality, you can choose from white mushrooms (Button), Cremini (Italian Brown), Shiitake, Portobello and Chanterelles (Finferli in Italian). These are the most common varieties of mushrooms and readily available in most supermarkets.
You can also use handy packages of mixed organic fresh mushrooms or frozen mixed ones.
Risotto with Porcini
Many prefer porcini mushrooms, the most prized and flavorful.
For a refined risotto suitable for special occasions, ONLY porcini mushrooms can be used!
These have such an intense flavor that just adding some to the other mushrooms will make the risotto more flavorful.
To make risotto with porcini mushrooms, clean the mushrooms thoroughly. Cut the caps into slices and the stalks into small chunks. Cook the mushrooms following the recipe above. Finally add them to the risotto just before the end of cooking.
Very tasty and convenient to use are dried porcini mushrooms.
Before cooking them, though, they need to be rehydrated. So let’s see how to do it.
Rehydrate the dried porcini mushrooms by soaking them in a little warm water for about 30 minutes.
Then squeeze them thoroughly and add them to the risotto, either alone or together with the other mushrooms.
In addition to porcini mushrooms, you can also use the water in which they were soaked.
This water is rich in mushroom flavor and you can use it added to the broth. If there is leftover use it to flavor roasts or other sauces.
Be careful, though! It’s necessary to filter it before use! In fact, impurities or soil residues that were in the mushrooms often remain at the bottom.
Mushrooms Risotto: Some Variants
There are many variations of this Italian mushroom risotto recipe. Let’s look at some of them!
Tasty Mushroom Risotto
First, to have a tastier and richer mushroom risotto, you can use meat stock instead of vegetable stock.
Even some, to give more color to the dish, add half a tablespoon of tomato paste.
Saffron and Mushroom Risotto
The saffron variant is popular in Lombardy. They enrich Risotto Classico alla Milanese with mushroom sauce, a real delicacy!
Mushroom and Sausage Risotto
A very popular variant, especially in the mountainous regions of northern Italy, is risotto with mushrooms and sausage.
In South Tyrol they prefer to add diced Speck, which is a local product of theirs. Bacon can be a great alternative.
Mushroom and Gorgonzola (or Taleggio) Risotto.
If you love intensely flavored cheeses, we recommend adding a bit of Gorgonzola or Taleggio cheese at the end of cooking, along with butter and Parmigiano.
These cheeses, typical of northern Italy, go wonderfully with the flavor of mushrooms.
Mushroom and Pumpkin Risotto
Finally, another variation that combines two typically autumn ingredients is mushroom and pumpkin risotto.
Colorful and flavorful, it really is like having autumn on your plate!