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Truffle mushroom risotto starring porcini mushrooms ticks all the boxes. Easy to make with affordable, gourmet ingredients like dried porcini & truffle oil.
A visit to the magnificent, Modena market in the Emiglio Romagna region, maybe the greatest of Italy’s food bowls, was the inspiration for this simple dish. There we saw the best array of fresh, porcini mushrooms you could possibly hope to find. Large and attractive to the eye, as well as being meaty, earthy, and with an incredibly rich flavor. Porcini mushrooms are surely the Holy Grail of all mushrooms! If you are visiting Italy, below are some more details about the Modena Market.
There are many porcini mushroom recipes, but I was determined to cook something very special with such great produce. And then it struck me. Why not truffle mushroom risotto? Italy is famous for its truffles, and here I was in the Modena Market. I immediately had fond memories of my previous dining experiences with black truffles.
I have been lucky enough to have fresh truffles twice. Once was because my sister in law won a silent auction with the prize being a special (truffle) degustation dinner party at a well-known, Italian restaurant in Melbourne. I was lucky enough to tag along for the evening.
We had about 8 courses with matched wines. I caught a taxi home! At least 4 of the courses featured fresh truffles, including a black truffle risotto and an ice cream. It was a sublime experience which I have never forgotten. Having freshly, grated truffle on a simple spaghetti or risotto is decadent, there is no other word for it.
The owner of the restaurant spoke to us during the meal. He travels to Italy every year to source and bring back the truffles for his restaurant. All tax deductible I guess. He prefers to do this himself rather than buy them sight unseen.
You often hear people talk about the smell of truffles being like nothing else. Many people claim it is a very sensual smell and indeed this is the reason female pigs are used to sniff the truffles out in oak and other northern hemisphere forests, as truffles contain a significant amount of androstenol (a male pig hormone).
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In Australia and other countries, younger farmers are moving into the production of gourmet foods such as black truffles. However, the truffle industry in Australia is in its infancy and Italian truffles are still highly sought after in Australia and elsewhere.
Fresh Porcini Mushrooms at the Modena Market
Modena is of course famous for its vinegar. But there is more to Modena than vinegar. It contains the usual old, defensive walls so typical of towns and cities in the Emilia Romagna region. Car traffic is restricted within the defensive walls and many thoroughfares are pedestrian only. What a relaxing feeling it is to walk in these areas.
It is a pleasure to just wander around Modena. The old town is full of piazzas, winding streets with beautiful old houses painted rustic colors and sometimes frescoes. Hanging baskets and planter boxes adorn these old houses to soften hard surfaces.
And just like Parma and Bologna, it is paradise for food lovers. The delicatessens, butchers and green grocers at the Modena Market contain products that just cry out to be bought. If you like mushrooms, you will be in heaven here. The prices just knocked my socks off. I would say at least 60% cheaper than what I am used to.
Alas we hunted in vain for truffles. What to do?
Truffle Oil and Dried Porcini make for an Affordable Risotto
Unfortunately it was not yet truffle season in Italy and they are very expensive, so fresh truffles don’t feature in today’s recipe. If, however, you do want to find out what all the hullabaloo is around truffles then using truffle oil (the poor man’s truffle) will give you some sort of appreciation as to whether you want to buy the real thing! Cooking with truffle oil is easy and a mushroom risotto with truffle oil makes this a very acceptable alternative.
The range of mushroom varieties at the Modena Market was truly impressive. Fresh porcini is not common where I come from and they are very expensive. Here in Modena we saw them everywhere. If you are looking for porcini mushroom recipe ideas, consider using them as pizza topping (divine), in risottos, or as toppings with veal (also very common here). Supermarkets and delicatessens carry a large range of bottled porcini, probably a step up from dried porcini.
Although it might be difficult to source fresh porcini mushrooms, dried porcini (when re-hydrated in broth or stock) are more than acceptable.
Sourcing Ingredients for Mushroom Risotto
So, you can make porcini mushroom risotto with truffle oil all year round. For the truffle mushroom risotto, I am using dried porcini, a selection of 2 or 3 types of fresh mushrooms and the truffle oil. Buy some good Parmigiano Reggiano and you are good to go with a restaurant-quality dinner you will be proud of.
And if you want to try real truffle with this dish, go right ahead. Omit the truffle oil and at the table, when everyone is seated, just grate the fresh truffle over the risotto.
Risotto is made using arborio rice, a short grained, high starch content rice originally from Italy. The high starch content helps it to absorb liquid and become creamy, which is what you want in a risotto. Italy is the largest producer of rice in Europe, relying heavily on irrigation for production. Most of Italy’s rice production is arborio. Check at your local supermarket and you should be able to find a good option.
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Easy Truffle Mushroom Risotto with Porcini Mushroom
The ingredients for truffle mushroom risotto might be gourmet, but there is nothing difficult about this dish. In addition to the dried porcini, I like to use at least 3 varieties of fresh mushrooms. Another great development for food-lovers has been the ever-increasing availability of different types of mushrooms. Gourmet varieties like pine mushrooms, shiitakes, oysters, portobellos, Swiss browns and the list goes on.
So, without further ado, here’s the recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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- 2 1/2 pints chicken stock *
- 2 ozs porcini, dried
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onions, brown finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 2/3 lb arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 lb mushrooms, fresh half finely chopped, half roughly chopped*
- 2 tbsp butter chopped
- 1 cup parmigiano reggiano grated*
- 1 handful parsley fresh, leaves only
- drizzle truffle oil
- Heat 2 cups of the chicken stock and soak the porcini mushrooms in it. While the porcini is soaking, chop up the vegetables. After 30 minutes remove the porcini mushrooms and chop. Reserve the stock that was used for the soaking.
- Place your chicken stock in a pot. Using a sieve, add the reserved stock from the porcini soaking. Bring to the boil. Then keep the chicken stock at a simmer.
- Heat the olive oil. Over a low to medium heat, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium and add the rice. Stir frequently for about 2 minutes, making sure all of the grains are coated with oil and starting to turn translucent. Add the wine. It should sizzle when added. Stir frequently until most of the wine has soaked into the rice.
- Add about half a cup of the simmering stock and the finely chopped mushrooms to the risotto. Stir frequently. Keep adding the next half cup of stock as the previous half cup soaks into the rice. After about 5 minutes, add the remaining roughly chopped mushrooms and porcini. Keep ladling in the remaining stock one half cup at a time until all of the stock has been used, stirring frequently.
- The rice should be plump and creamy and cooked. If not add a half cup of boiling water. Remove the risotto from the heat. Add in the butter and about 2/3's of the parmigiano reggiano. Allow to melt and then stir to combine.
- Serve onto individual plates. Sprinkle over the parsley and remaining parmigiano reggiano. Drizzle with the truffle oil to finish.
You can use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Better delicatessens and supermarkets sell dried porcini mushrooms, parmigiano reggiano and truffle oil. Or you can buy dried porcini mushrooms here, parmigiano reggiano here and truffle oil here.
Try and buy at least 2 types of fresh mushrooms, 3 is better.
You can substitute parmigiano reggiano with your any good quality parmesan cheese.
If you have never tasted truffle oil, go easy on how much you use, you can always add more.
Oh I do love me a mushroom risotto.
Can’t say I’ve had it with truffles though. I’ve had chips with truffle oil but that’s the best of it.
My mother in law makes a delicious mushroom risotto being Italian & from northern Italy you’d imagine it’s pretty special.
Not that I have had it for years, she seldom cooks & hubby hates mushrooms.
But one day…
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Kim, thanks for your comment. The truffle oil gives the mushroom risotto an added dimension. If you can find fresh truffles then even better. So sorry your husband doesn’t enjoy mushrooms, I couldn’t imagine not having them.
This risotto recipe is going in my yummly box! I will be sharing it with my hubby who is the chef in our home- I’m just the baker! Thanks so much – a beautiful presentation.
Hi Judy. Thanks for that! We have the same arrangement in our house. I love to cook and find it relaxing as well as worthwhile. If you are going to eat you may as well make something that you are going to enjoy. Cheers….Mark
Neli @ Delicious Meets Healthy
Oh my, I love mushroom risotto and this one looks perfect! One of my favorite side dishes!
Risotto is usually served as a course all it’s own in Italy! It gets to be center stage! You can read more about a typical Italian dinner https://www.compassandfork.com/italian-dinner-party/ Thanks for reading Neil
Beautiful! I could eat dried porcini in (almost) anything, but risotto is definitely a classic go-to. Your recipe looks great!!
Hillary, thanks for your kind comments. Porcini is just wonderful isn’t it? And easy to have on hand in your pantry. Cheers….Mark
Oh my goodness, this sounds divine! Truffles add the most amazing flavour. I had easy access to fresh truffles from a local farm when I lived in Tasmania (Australia), but have been missing out since moving to the States!
Thanks for your comments Donna. The truffle industry Tasmania s really taking off. Good to see! Porcini might be my favorite mushroom. Cheers….Mark
chopinandmysaucepan April 14, 2011 2:27 am Hilarious! I’m a meat eating perosn and you are absolutely right! This is one dish I will give exception. The waft of the truffle oil is enough to pass on the steak. One of the best mushroom risottos I had in Sydney was at Otto restaurant. The portion was a little small though but it came with a black ring round the risotto which was a concentrated extract of mushroom and some truffle oil (I think). It was really a brilliant dish.
They are starting to grow more truffles in Australia so you might see them more often on the menu.
Looks yummy:D I love mushrooms <3
Shihoka. Thanks for the comment. Yes the mixed mushrooms are the key. They all have different textures and shapes. Cheers….Mark
Yum! Can’t go wrong with truffle oil, right!? Sounds like a lovely recipe! Thanks for sharing!
Thank yo for your comments Leah. Truffle oil is good to have in your pantry. Cheers….Mark
Fresh truffles would be amazing – but as you say, the truffle oil will do in a pinch!
Thanks for your comment Jen. Yes truffles are truly decadent, but the oil is not a bad substitute. Cheers….Mark
June 1, 2009 11:16 pm OHH Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting rrceuose! PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉 See you! ^_^
Claudia, good luck with English, you are doing pretty good so far. Thanks for commenting.