Deliciously creamy, this Mushroom Risotto recipe features leek instead of onion for even more flavor along with Parmesan cheese and a secret ingredient for ultimate flavor!
An incredibly flavor-packed mushroom risotto that is easy to make, it just requires a little patience. But your patience will be well-rewarded, we promise!
What is Risotto?
From the Italian word for rice, “riso“, risotto is a rice dish that originated in Northern Italy in the city of Milan. There are virtually endless variations of risotto made with different ingredients and flavor combinations, but they all use a special variety of short-grain rice (i.e. arborio and sometimes though less commonly carnaroli) and they follow a standard cooking procedure. The type of rice and the cooking method are both vital in making risotto.
Though there are many flavor variations of risotto, most traditional risottos include the core ingredients of onion, white wine, butter and Parmesan cheese.
For our mushroom risotto we’re using leek (also in the onion family) for even more flavor.
What Kind of Rice Do You Need for Risotto?
Arborio rice is traditional because of its high starch content and texture, some Italians opt for carnaroli rice, a medium-grained, high-starch rice. On our most recent trip to Italy last fall I conducted an informal poll in two large grocery stores in two different regions of Italy and it was a fairly even split, with slightly more Italians preferring arborio over carnaroli for making risotto at home.
Tips for Making the Perfect Mushroom Risotto
When making risotto patience is the key along with a few cardinal rules.
- The rice should not pre-rinsed to avoid removing its starch, a key component to achieving risotto’s characteristic creamy texture.
- Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan that is 10 to 12 inches in diameter. A narrower pan can lead to soupy risotto and a wider pan causes the liquid to evaporate too quickly resulting in a dry, overcooked risotto.
- First you need to make the soffrito. This is where you melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the vegetables before adding the rice. Don’t try cooking everything together at the same time.
- The rice needs to be stirred into the vegetable mixture for a couple of minutes so that the rice grains are fully coated in butter. Don’t skip this step, it is key to the rice achieving the right texture. The same principle is at work as when making Spanish paella. (Check out our recipes for Valencian Paella, Seafood Paella, and Squid Ink Paella.)
- Add the broth in batches making sure that the liquid is fully absorbed before adding the next batch. This is key to enabling the rice to properly absorb the liquid and getting that creamy yet al dente texture (the rice should be soft and creamy on the outside with a bit of chewiness on the inside.) So don’t rush this process. It should take approximately 20 minutes. Also be sure to stir the risotto constantly throughout the cooking process.
- The last step is referred to as mantecatura. This is where the risotto is removed from the heat and the butter is stirred in thoroughly to get that creamy consistency.
How To Know When Your Risotto is Done
The most reliable way to tell your risotto is done is to taste it. The rice should be cooked but with a somewhat firm bite. If the rice still isn’t done and you’ve used up the designated amount of stock, add a little extra and continue cooking until it is done.
If you prefer a softer risotto or one that is even creamier or “soupier”, stir in a little extra broth at the end.
What Do I Serve With Mushroom Risotto?
Mushroom risotto is a great side to serve with poultry, meat, or seafood. Or you can serve it as a main dish with a salad.
Can You Freeze Risotto?
You will find varying opinions on this. You can freeze risotto but the texture will be altered (the rice can become harder and grainy). Risotto is best eaten immediately or, if there’s leftovers, stored in the fridge for up to a couple of days. However, if you have a lot leftover it is certainly safe to freeze risotto.
Another option for risotto that has been frozen is to use it in a casserole dish instead or you can use it to make arancini (Sicilian rice balls).
How Do You Reheat Risotto?
Microwave it just until heated through to avoid it becoming too mushy. As rice sits it will continue to absorb liquid, so if you have leftovers we recommend stirring in a little extra broth when reheating.
What Are Porcini Mushrooms?
For the best mushroom risotto ever we highly recommend including dried porcini mushrooms. When it comes to flavor, they’re like mushrooms on steroids! They’ve been prized in Italy and France for centuries where they have earned the title “King of Mushrooms” for their incredible flavor.
For years I’ve included a tablespoon or two of ground dried porcini mushrooms to a variety of sauces, gravies and soups for a potent dose of umami to heighten the flavor of each dish. And for the ultimate mushroom risotto you will definitely want to include them.
You can find dried porcini mushrooms in some well-stocked grocery stores and you can also find them here on Amazon.
We use and recommend our most favorite brand of broth based in Barcelona, Spain: Aneto. They make all of their broths with the freshest vegetables and freshest free-ranged bone-in chicken and slow-simmer the ingredients in pots – just like making it right at home, but on a larger scale with larger pots. Their broths are all 100% natural with non-GMO ingredients and without the use of any additives, preservatives, fillers, extracts, powders or flavor enhancers. Just real, whole vegetables and fresh meat. Our family has been using Aneto products for several years and can’t recommend them highly enough.
What you see in the pictures below is the real deal. We toured the factory and got to witness the entire process from start to finish. It was incredible! Read all about our experience at the Aneto Factory Tour. And check out the Store Locations List to find a store near you in the U.S. that stocks Aneto products.
For our vegetarian readers, you can also try Aneto’s Vegetable Broth which is likewise excellent.
Mushroom Risotto Recipe
Let’s get started!
Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, preferably 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Cook the leek until tender, 5-7 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until soft, another 5-7 minutes.
Pour in the wine and bring to a boil until mostly evaporated.
Add the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes, ensuring the grains are thoroughly coated in oil.
Pour in one cup of the broth along with the salt. Bring to a very low and gentle simmer (do not let the risotto boil at any point), stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed the broth.
Add another cup of broth and repeat the process, adding one cup of broth at a time, ensuring the rice has absorbed the liquid before adding the next cup of broth.
After last cup of broth has been added and is absorbed, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the rice is a nice creamy consistency. If you prefer a “soupier” consistency, add a little more broth.
For more delicious risotto recipes try our:
- 5-6 cups quality chicken broth , heated (we use and recommend Aneto's 100% All Natural Chicken Broth) ***Vegetarians: Use vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large leek , chopped, thoroughly rinsed and drained
- 12 ounces fresh mushrooms of choice , cleaned and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped dried porcini mushrooms (very strongly recommended for the BEST flavor)
- 1 1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese , plus more for serving
- fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, preferably about 10 inches in diameter. Cook the leek until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until soft, another 5-7minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until it is mostly evaporated.Add the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes, ensuring the grains are thoroughly coated in oil.
- Pour in one cup of the broth along with the salt. Bring to a very low and gentle simmer (do not let the risotto boil at any point), stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed the broth. Add another cup of broth and repeat the process, adding one cup of broth at a time, ensuring the rice has absorbed the liquid before adding the next cup of broth. (The rice is done when it is tender but still slightly firm. Do a taste test to determine doneness and whether additional broth is needed to continue cooking.)
- After last cup of broth has been added and is absorbed, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the 5 tablespoons of butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the rice is a nice creamy consistency. If you prefer a"soupier" consistency, add a little more broth. Add more salt to taste.Serve immediately sprinkled with some extra grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley.