The weather has FINALLY started to cool down in Southern California, which means it is FINALLY time to start cooking heartier dishes, risotto being one of my absolute favorites.
This recipe not only uses a massive amount of mushrooms but gets an extra 'shroom boost from some A Bite of Good Italian Countryside spice blend (get yours here), which includes porcini mushroom powder, among other herbs and spices. You can certainly make this recipe without my spice blend, but it won't be nearly as 'shroom-tastic.
Extra 'Shroomy Mushroom Risotto
5 ounces unsalted butter, divided
2 pounds fresh mushrooms (I used portabella and crimini, but if you can find fresh wild mushrooms you'd be taking things to an even more amazing 'shroom level!); large mushrooms sliced, small mushrooms halved or quartered
1 tablespoon A Bite of Good Italian Countryside spice blend (get yours here)
8 cups (about) homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, finely chopped (about 1 cup), white and light green parts only
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup dry white vermouth
1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
Melt 1 ounce of butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 of mushrooms and sprinkle with Italian Countryside spice blend. (Note: If you're not using my Italian Countryside Spice Blend, be sure to season with salt and pepper. No one wants a bland risotto!) Sauté mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Working in 3 more batches, repeat with 3 ounces of butter, remaining mushrooms, and Italian Countryside Spice Blend.
Bring chicken broth to a simmer in medium saucepan. Melt remaining butter with olive oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leek and garlic, sprinkle with Italian Countryside spice blend, and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and increase the heat to medium. Stir until the edges of the rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. (Pro tip: This is called "pearling" the rice.) Add the white wine and vermouth and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add a ladle full of warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 1 minute. Continue adding broth by ladlefuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is halfway cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in sautéed mushrooms. Continue adding broth by ladlefuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, another 10-15 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Pass additional cheese alongside, if desired.