Porcini mushroom and sausage risotto
The porcini used in this recipe are dried not fresh for two reasons. Fresh porcini are seasonal and not available everywhere and even a risotto with fresh porcini will require a good amount of dried porcini to provide the requisite depth of flavor.
Ingredients for 2 people:
30 grams (1.1 oz ) dried funghi porcini
185 grams ( 6.5 oz ) Carnaroli rice
150 grams ( 5 oz ) sausage (see note 1 below)
750 ml/grams or 3.25 cups stock (see note 2 below)
1 small onion
1 tablespoon cold butter
half glass dry white wine
finely grated Parmigiano reggiano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh flat-leafed Italian parsley finely chopped
1. The ideal sausage for this recipe is luganega from Veneto. If this is unavailable use another thinnish sausage that is not too heavily flavored so it doesn’t overwhelm the funghi porcini.
2. A home-made chicken stock would be fine here because the ingredients are quite robust. Some recipes suggest replacing the usual stock with the water used to rehydrate the dried porcini but using all of it results in too much bitterness in our opinion. We think you should add no more than 1 to 1.5 cups of the porcini water to whatever stock you are using.
1. Soak the dried porcini in a bowl of warm (but not boiling) water for about 15 minutes to rehydrate them.
2. Finely chop the onion and sweat for a couple of minutes in a small amount of butter and/or olive oil in a sturdy saucepan large enough to cook the entire risotto.
3. When the porcini have soaked, remove them and put aside for now but lift them out gently because there will probably be some grit expunged during the soaking which must be left behind. Add one cup or a little more of the strained porcini soaking water to the prepared stock, bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.
4. Remove the sausage meat from its casing and add to the onions in the risotto pan. Cook it on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes crushing it with a fork during the process so the sausage is no longer lumpy.
5. Turn the heat up high and add the rice. Stir continuously for a couple of minutes until all the rice is coated with the onion and sausage mixture and heated through. Add half a glass of white wine and let the alcohol burn off for a minute until the rice becomes a little dry again.
6. From this point until the rice is cooked will take around 18 minutes. Start by adding a full ladle of hot stock to the risotto and now you’ll need to stay by the stove and stir regularly until the rice is fully cooked. Add the stock to the risotto one ladle at a time whenever the rice starts to dry out but don’t drown the rice by adding too much at once.
7. After about 5 minutes as the rice is cooking add the chopped porcini mushrooms. After 15 minutes total cooking time check for salt and start tasting the rice to determine when it’s fully cooked. If you run out of stock keep some boiling water to hand to keep the process going because cold water will reduce the temperature and affect the timing. Add smaller quantities of stock at this point because you don’t want to be left with a soupy mixture when the rice is fully cooked.
8. When the rice is cooked turn the heat off, let the risotto rest for a minute and then with a wooden spoon vigorously beat into the risotto the cold butter from the fridge and the cheese.
9. Finish with risotto by adding the chopped parsley.