Morel Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom risotto is pretty simple: You want to revel in the flavor of these mushrooms, so not much else should compete with it. The only special ingredient (other than the morels) you need to make this is risotto rice. You must use a short-grain rice for risotto, or it will not work; long-grain rice has a different set of starches, and will not make that creamy sauce. I prefer carnaroli rice here, but arborio or vialone nano are also excellent choices. Arborio is sold in most supermarkets
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 4 people
- 1 quart duck stock, chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 2-3 cups water
- 2 tablespoon duck fat or butter
- 1 cup minced shallot, leek or onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups risotto rice
- 1/2 pound fresh morels, or 1 ounce dried
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives or parsley
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
FOR FRESH MORELS
Pour the stock and 2 cups water into a pot and bring it to a gentle simmer.
In another medium pot, heat the duck fat or butter over medium-high heat and saute the minced shallot or onion until it softens and turns translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, the morels and the rice and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
When the liquid from the morels has evaporated, add 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice and stir well. Sprinkle a little salt over everything. The key to making a great risotto is to constantly stir, or at least stir every minute or so. As each 1/2 cup of stock is absorbed, add another, then another until the rice is cooked through, but still firm.
When you reach that point, add the grated cheese and a little more stock. Stir to incorporate the cheese into the risotto. Add the chopped chives and serve at once.
FOR DRIED MORELS
Start by setting the morels in a bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the morels and cover the bowl. Let the mushrooms steep for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze them dry with your hands over the bowl, catching the juices. Chop the morels and set aside. Strain the soaking water through a paper towel set in a colander; you will be cooking with this soaking water, and you want it free of debris.
Now follow the directions as above, but instead of 2 cups of water, use the 2 cups of the mushroom soaking water.