4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 ounces mushrooms, sliced or 1/4 cup dried porcinis**
1/2 cup white wine, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup arborio rice (no substitutions)
2 tablespoon fresh herbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Truffle salt, to taste
Instructions for using fresh mushrooms:
Heat up stock on low and keep warm. In a separate pan big enough for the risotto, melt 2 tablespoons butter and then saute shallots until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and saute until tender. Add a pinch of salt and stir. Add 1/4 cup of the white wine and reduce until the pan is dry. Set mixture aside. In same pan, melt last tablespoon of butter. Add rice and toast for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of wine and reduce until almost dry. The time has come for you to commit to the risotto. Pour yourself a glass of wine and get ready because you need to settle in at this point.
Modifications for using dried porcinis:
Add porcinis to wine to soak before beginning. Add all three tablespoons of butter in the beginning. While shallots are sauteeing, remove mushrooms from wine and rough chop them, reserving the wine. Once shallots and garlic are sauteed add all of the wine and reduce until dry. Add rice and toast one minute. Continue as follows –
Add stock one 4 ounce ladle full at a time and stir. Keep stirring. Are you stirring? You need to be stirring. That’s why risotto is such a labor of love. You can walk away for like 30 seconds time, but that’s all. It’s best if you just keep stirring to release the starches. See why you poured that glass of wine? Because now you’re stuck at the stove for like 20-25 minutes. So once the 4 ounce ladleful (or 1/2 cup) has been absorbed into the rice – you’ll know because when you draw back the rice, it won’t run into the crevice – add the next one. Once you get about 6 ladles in, taste it. If it’s getting close to the texture you want, mix the mushrooms back in. Continue adding stock and stirring until the risotto is creamy and al dente. Then stir in the parmesan and herbs. If your risotto has become a little stiff, just add a little more stock to loosen it up, stir in and turn off the heat. Add truffle salt (or regular salt) and pepper to taste.