Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that has nearly as much unfounded fear associated with it as soufflé. My first memory of friends attempting this threatening dish was years ago at a dinner party. I thought it ironic that the trepidation in the air was shared with a party of 12. One would have imagined that such an experiment might be first attempted on a smaller contingent. That would have been too practical for my friends who have together and separately: met while sailing on different boats across the Atlantic, managed rock stars and studios, ran cable networks, made documentaries and now run a successful bed and breakfast, restaurant and award winning winery in Mexico. Clearly, risotto might have been new for them but a challenge it was not.

There is nothing to risotto. I explain in my book that once you learn to make plain risotto, the variations are only limited by your imagination.


  • 2 Cups Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Small White Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Chef’s Knife
  • Medium Grater
  • 2 Medium Sauce Pans
  • Sauté Pan
  • Ladle
  • Wooden Spoon
  1. Pour the chicken (or vegetable) broth into a one of the pans and add about 1/2 cup water. Warm over low flame. I usually put this on the back burner so I can ladle it into the front pan without dripping.
  2. Heat the oil in the other pan.
  3. Add the onion first then the garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add a little salt and pepper.
  4. Slowly add the rice and stir until completely coated with the oil.
  5. Add a couple ladles of broth and stir.
  6. Continue to cook the rice over med. low heat. The concept of having to stir risotto constantly is a myth. The reason for stirring is to expose all of the rice to the broth and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Continue replenishing the broth as it is absorbed into the rice. Stir each time.
  8. In a sauté pan, melt the butter and a teaspoon of olive oil.
  9. Sauté the mushrooms. You can use whatever mushrooms you like. I usually buy crimini but any mushroom will work.
  10. After about 20 minutes, when the rice has started to puff up but is still slightly hard, stir in the cooked mushrooms.
  11. Continue adding the broth until all of the broth is absorbed and the rice has softened. This should take about 25-30 minutes.
  12. Taste the rice. It should be al dente. If it is still a little hard cook for another 5 minutes.
  13. When it is done, turn the heat off and stir in the cheese.
  14. Add the rosemary and adjust the salt and pepper.

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