From America's Test Kitchen Season 5: More Italian Classics
Earthy wild mushrooms added to a basic Italian risotto make a great main course. But the difficulty, not to mention the expense, of finding exotic fungi prompted us to try our hand at reproducing these flavors with supermarket mushrooms.
Cultivated mushrooms just don’t have enough flavor for a dish like this, so we turned to aromatic dried porcini, which pack quite a flavor punch. But they need to be chopped, so for visual appeal and substantive texture we added fresh cremini. Because simmering the cremini in the rice-broth mixture would make them rubbery, we browned them in a separate skillet with some onion and garlic for added flavor, folding this mixture into the risotto only when the rice was done. We added extra wine to our basic risotto so that its acidity would balance the richness of the mushrooms, and used a decidedly un-Italian ingredient, soy sauce, to intensify the earthiness of the mushrooms and round out the flavors. Without relying on pricey fungi, we had created a risotto with the same exotic earthiness.
Serves 6 as main course, 8 as first course
Cremini mushrooms are sometimes sold as baby bella mushrooms. If they’re not available, button mushrooms make a fine, though somewhat less flavorful, substitute. Toward the end of cooking, judge the doneness of the rice by tasting it.