Easy Porcini Risotto

A few weeks ago I posted on facebook and asked all of you what recipes you wanted me to make.  I am thrilled by the response.

Susan, a much appreciated follower of Gina At Home, requested porcini risotto.  She has had trouble with risotto in the past and is looking for a little guidance.  I’m on the job and really hope she likes mushrooms!

Risotto can be overwhelming to make.  There are lots of steps and you need to be organized, but once you’ve done it, it’s easy.   I would say risotto is like taking an exam.  The studying and anticipation of taking the exam is far worse than the actual exam itself…and I’d rather be making risotto than taking an exam any day!  It’s more fun and tastes better.  🙂

When making the video below,  I did each step in order and used my time efficiently.  I was systematic and organized – which is very important when making this dish.  But if you stay organized this recipe really is easy.  It takes some time and attention, but you can definitely master it.  And once you have mastered the basics, you can experiment with other flavors such as truffle risotto (my favorite!), seafood, pumpkin, whatever.

How to make this recipe?  Start at the grocery store or your local farmer’s market.  Buy fresh mushrooms, herbs and cheese.  I used  porcini and crimini mushrooms, but you could easily substitute them with morels, portobellos or shiitakes.   Morels would give you the richest flavor, but I couldn’t get any the day I went to the store or at the farmer’s market.  I also used 2 shallots because I love them and I may have put more parmesan in then required (that whole cheese thing)!  If you can,  don’t drink all of that white wine you have in the refrigerator,  save some for your risotto recipe.   I know it’s hard to resist, but it adds to and balances the flavor of the risotto.

Now all you have to do is get to work.  Remember to read the directions through before you begin, twice if you need to,  and take the time to get organized. Once you wrap your brain around the process, your hands will follow.  I like to line ingredients up in the order I need to use them, it really helps a lot.  Also, have all your pans out and utensils ready.  I think that’s it, you are ready to start making risotto!

Susan, I would like to thank you for your request (my husband and stomach also thank you) and ask you to share with all of us how your risotto turned out.  It was my pleasure to pass on this recipe and make this video.  And to everyone else, let me know all about you’re risotto.  I would love it if you would post pictures here or on facebook.  Happy eating!


Porcini Risotto Recipe


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 ½ cups boiling water
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and fresh pepper
  • 6  tbsp butter, unsalted, divided into 3-2 tbsp
  • 1-2 small shallots
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup (7 oz) arborio rice
  • ¼-½ cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf, small
  • 1-2 tbsp mascarpone
  • 1 cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1 lb fresh porcini or cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1-2 thyme sprigs


Bring the water to a boil .  Soak dried porcini mushrooms in it until soft, 20 minutes.

While they are soaking, clean and slice the pound of fresh mushrooms, place in a bowl and set aside.  Slice the shallots and set aside.

After 20 minutes, drain the porcinis, reserving 1 cup of the liquid.  Chop the porcini and place in a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat the cup of mushroom liquid and chicken stock on medium heat.

In a large saucepan or braiser, heat 2 tbsp of butter on medium.  Add the shallots and garlic, stirring often.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the rice and dried porcini, stirring for 30 seconds.  Add the wine and bay leaf and cook until the wine evaporates.  Add ¼ of the broth, stirring constantly.  Continue adding the broth in small increments.  Don’t add more broth until the prior broth has been absorbed.  Continuing doing this until the broth is gone and the rice is al dente and in a creamy sauce. This process of adding broth and stirring will take about 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf.  Stir in 2 tbsp butter, mascarpone and parmesan cheese.  If you want it a little creamier add an extra tbsp of mascarpone.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a separate large fry pan, melt the last 2 tbsp of butter.  Add the fresh mushrooms and thyme sprigs, cooking over medium/high heat.  When mushrooms are soft, about 8 minutes, remove the thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Plate the risotto.  Spoon the mushrooms over the risotto.  Sprinkle with more parmesan and serve.