Thursday, 4 February 2010

Wild Mushroom and Brie Risotto

I've perfected my mushroom and brie risotto.

Yummm. This risotto is really rich--real winter food. I used real Parmesan, which is more crumbly and has a nuttier flavor than other "Parmesans". I don't really know how the labeling works, but I know the difference in the taste--I was under the assumption that Parmesan can only be called Parmesan if it is actually "Parmesan," (like that whole Champagne thing). This can't always be the case in America, or at least cheese producers can get away with selling different products under the same name here, because there is a definite difference in taste. Regardless, I also used chunks of Fromage d'Affinois, which, technically speaking is not a Brie. I just like it, and it works the same way. It's fucking delicious.

The recipe only calls for baby portabella (cremini) mushrooms and white button mushrooms. My photographs include trumpet mushrooms, because they were on sale, and I like the varying textures. I've also used shiitake and oyster mushrooms before, but I liked this combination best.

Wild Mushroom and Brie Risotto
(serves 4-8 depending on if you want it as a main meal or a side dish;
takes about an hour to an hour an a half, including prep)

4-6 c of vegetable (or chicken) broth
2-4 tbsp olive oil
10 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
10 oz white or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 c Arborio rice
1/2 c white wine
1-2 tbsp minced thyme (fresh)
3 tbsp butter, divided--2 tbsp cut into chunks
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 6oz wedge of Brie, cut into small chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Warm about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and a tablespoon of butter. Once the mushrooms start to wilt, add the thyme, a generous amount of pepper, a tsp or so of sea salt, and cook about three to five minutes. Remove the mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir in the onion, cooking for one minute (do not let brown). Add rice, stirring to completely coat with oil. When the rice has just turned golden and pale, add the wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.
  3. Continue this with the broth by adding ½ c at a time, stirring until the liquid is absorbed and adding ½ c of broth. Do this until all the broth has been used, tasting at intervals, to make sure you don’t over cook the rice. It shouldn’t be crunchy, but shouldn’t be mushy either (i.e. al dente). This should take anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, and immediately add mushrooms, chunks of butter, parmesan, and chives. Add salt and pepper to taste only after adding the parmesan. Fold in the chunks of brie.
It's really hard to chop this stuff, because the cheese is so soft, so your fingers will get messy. If it bothers you, you can always forgo the soft cheese and replace it with steamed asparagus. I mean, I'm not making a joke--that would be good too.

Also, I did this...

Haha. Cool. I'm a nerd.


  1. why are there no comments here? i'll begin:
    a) i like you. you're hilarious.
    b) that risotto looks UHMAZING.
    c) i used to hate mushrooms too but lo and behold, they're really quite good (shitake is my fav)
    d) i had this amazing brie + mushroom risotto at a restaurant and your picture pretty much looks exactly like what i had. YUM.
    e) thanks for posting!!!!! i'll let you know when i try this.
    f) presentation is everything :p

  2. looks fab. Thanks for posting.
    About parmesan.. It is only real if it is called Parmigiano Reggiano, it would have the imprint on the rim. Parmesan is an English term.

  3. Haha, thanks! I must not have known that then! This was Parmigiano Reggiano and did have the wheel's seal. You can sort of tell from the picture above that it has that granular, crystalline structure that a false "Parmesan" does not have--here either can be used (or any similar cheese like Grana Padano) according to preference/availability/affordability. I still refer to both as Parmesan, but any time I've pictured/mentioned it on this blog, it's always been Parmigiano Reggiano.

    My presentation is unfortunately pretty poor :( because risotto should be looser. I think this was my fourth attempt at risotto (I'm not sure how that means I perfected it), and I assumed it should be tight--but learned almost immediately after that that was not "correct." The only difference would be to have taken it off the heat a little before all the liquid had evaporated/been absorbed, or added a bit more liquid if necessary. The rice is al dente when you can squish a piece between your fingers and the grain is translucent (no opaque lines or dots--if you ever try this, it makes more sense). It kind of falls to the sides once you plate it instead of holding its shape like this.

    Anyway, thanks guys!