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Wild Mushroom and Saffron Risotto with Variations


Wild Mushroom and Saffron Risotto with Variations
Jen Hoy
Scented with saffron and rich with the flavors of wild mushrooms, this recipe for wild mushroom risotto makes a wonderful starter or light main dish. Risotto is really easy to make once you understand the basic concept. It requires lots of stirring and attention; so if you don’t have time for a slightly meditative cooking experience, wait until you do. It is well worth the time it takes, and is an impressive dish to master. Once you understand the basics, you can use just about any vegetable to make this dish. For a step by step lesson on risotto, see How to Make Risotto. Vegans can use olive oil to replace the butter and skip the cheese. The dish will still be delicious!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms (such as maitake (hen of the woods), black trumpet, chanterelle, or stemmed shiitake
  • 2 tablespoons organic pastured butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups low-sodium organic vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio, Padano, Vialone or other good quality risotto rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Parsley leaves for garnish
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese for serving (optional)


Gently wipe the mushrooms with a soft, clean cloth and slice them.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté them until they are tender and beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a bowl.
While the mushrooms are cooking, bring the broth and saffron threads to a simmer in a 1-quart saucepan; hold the broth on low heat.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, 3-4 quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until the onions are translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and a pinch of sea salt and increase the heat to medium. Stir the rice with a wooden spoon (to prevent bruising the grains) until the edges of the rice kernels begin to look translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add the white wine and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of broth, stirring frequently until almost all broth is absorbed.
As the rice absorbs the liquid, continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time. After each addition, stir until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more broth.
When the rice is more than halfway cooked, (about 15 minutes) stir in the sautéed mushrooms. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until rice is al dente tender and the risotto is creamy, about 10 minutes more. (If you run out of stock, use hot water if needed).
Season to taste and serve immediately, using parsley leaves to garnish. Pass the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese alongside, if desired.
Variations Add 1 cup of petit green peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Try adding a couple of teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary to the mushrooms while they sauté, and eliminate the saffron.
Add a chopped leek (the white and pale green parts only) to the onion.
Serves 4-6
Copyright Jen Hoy 2013

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