Chanterelle Risotto

ri·sot·to (r-ztt, r-st)
n. pl. ri·sot·tos

A dish of rice cooked in broth, usually with saffron, and served with grated cheese.
[Italian, from riso, rice, from Old Italian; see rice.]

[rih-SAW-toh, ree-ZAW-toh]
An Italian rice specialty made by stirring hot stock into a mixture of rice (and often chopped onions) that has been sautéed in butter. The stock is added 1/2 cup at a time and the mixture is stirred continually while it cooks until all the liquid is absorbed before more stock is added. This labor-intensive technique results in rice that is delectably creamy while the grains remain separate and firm. Risottos can be flavored variously with ingredients such as chicken, shellfish, sausage, vegetables, cheese, white wine and herbs. The famous risotto Milanese is scented with saffron. The use of Italian arborio rice is traditional in the preparation of risotto.

Oh, risotto. How I feared you for so long. Hearing claims of how “labor-intensive” you are made me a little timid at first, but I am so very glad I finally decided to take you up for the challenge and pair you with some wild chanterelle mushrooms, white wine, and truffle oil.

Really, it wasn’t that bad. The “hardest” part is just standing next to the stove for a good forty or so minutes, stirring, stirring, stirring. But if you have your iTunes library nearby and handy and you’re listening to some good jams and you’re in a good mood, there’s no need to worry. You definitely need to have some time on your hands and start it a little early before you start to get too hungry, but I’ve had worse. The high-maintenance reputation is highly overstated.
The ingredients are a bit pricey and can add up quick. Arborio rice, cheese, chicken stock, white wine, truffle oil, chanterelles. The best part was getting the “imperfect” chanterelles for free. That’s what jump-started this whole idea of making them into risotto in the first place. Otherwise I probably would have ever made this. Even in season, they run about $15 a pound. That being said, thank you thank you produce co-worker friends for looking out for me. I love you. The white wine was also my first alcoholic purchase from a grocery store. Of course, it would only be practical for a cooking recipe. I have a feeling 99% of the alcohol I will be buying from here on out will be solely for cooking and baking purposes. I’m a practical girl, what can I say…
Anyway, yes, this turned out ridiculously deliciously bomb. Fancy-ass, if I do say so myself. I had all of the leftovers to myself for the rest of the week too since my family isn’t really into mushrooms. My dad was brave enough to try a little hot off the stove and all he could say was “not bad”. NOT BAD?!?!? I took it personally for about ten seconds and then realized that, yeah, my dad would say something like that. His taste buds aren’t really up to par for something with such complexity of flavors. He’s more of a simple chicken and broccoli kind of guy if you know what I mean. My mom loved it though. Either way, I have confidence that this recipe is a winner and I do make a damn good risotto, thank you very much.

Chanterelle Risotto
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence on the Food Network

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
2 shallots, minced
1 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 fresh bay leaf
2 cups white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups arborio rice
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup Parmesean (I used a mix of Parmesean, basil asiago, and grana parma)
truffle oil, for topping and serving
Warm a wide large heavy-bottomed pan over a medium-low flame. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons ghee and melt together. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes, or until translucent, and then toss the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and begin to turn golden brown.
Pour 1 cup of the wine into the pan, and bring the liquid to a simmer, allowing the wine to evaporate. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are dry, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. Discard the bay leaf.
Reduce the flame to low, and add the remaining ghee and oil to the pan and melt. Stir in the rice and coat with the oil until the kernels are shiny, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of white wine and let evaporate.
Add the chicken broth, 1 ladle at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Do not add too quickly so as to prevent the kernels from exploding. Stir over a gentle flame until each ladel of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until most of the broth is incorporated and the risotto rice is al dente, about 25 minutes (BS- this took me about 40 or 45 minutes. Just sayin…).
Fold the mushrooms back into the rice and season with salt, pepper and parsley. Stir in the Parmesean and cheeses and finish with an ounce or two of white truffle oil. Serve immeeeeediately, obviously.
P.S. I so wanna do this! Bake and participate in it… seriously, a cupcake camp… wish I’d thought of it first.

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