RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Risotto Ai Funghi
1 ounce (about 1 cup) dried porcini mushrooms
4 to 4 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade vegetable broth (see related recipe)
2 tablespoons butter
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Leaves from 2 stems thyme, chopped, plus more for optional garnish
1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves, plus more for optional garnish
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the dried porcini mushrooms and broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook until hot. Turn off the heat and let them soak, to rehydrate, for at least 5 minutes, then use a fine-mesh strainer to scoop out the mushrooms, pressing on them to extract as much liquid as possible, and transfer them to a cutting board. Coarsely chop them.
Line the strainer with paper towels and place over a large bowl or large liquid measuring cup. Strain the broth into the bowl, rinse out the saucepan and pour the broth back into the saucepan. Cover and keep it warm over low heat.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a deep saute pan over high heat. Stir in the sliced cremini mushrooms and cook until soft and lightly browned, 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, then transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.
Return the saute pan to medium heat. Pour in the oil, and when it shimmers stir in the onion, garlic, thyme and sage; cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the rice, stirring for about a minute so all the grains are evenly coated. Pour in the wine; cook until it has mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped porcinis.
Add 1 cup of the warm broth to the rice mixture, and stir it in. Cook until the broth is mostly absorbed, then stir in another cup and repeat. Continue cooking and stirring in broth, 1 cup at a time, until the rice is al dente and the liquid is mostly absorbed; this should take about 20 minutes total, and you'll use about 4 cups of the broth. Stir in the vegan Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and all the pepper. Taste, and add more salt as needed.
Stir in up to another 1/2 cup of broth to loosen the risotto, as needed. (You want it to be just soupy enough that when you ladle it into shallow bowls, it spreads flat.) Divide among individual bowls, top with the cremini mushrooms, garnish with more thyme and/or sage, if desired, and serve.