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I used to think risotto was simply another side dish like a typical pilaf until I ordered it many times in restaurants. After many failed tries to make it at home, I finally succeeded with this recipe. My every day rice is long-grain white rice. For risotto, you must use a short-grain rice like Italian Arborio. Don't skip the Courvoisier!

Preparation Time: 50 minutes    Serving Size: 4

  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Courvoisier
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesano reggiano
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Place dried porcini in a small bowl. Cover with hot water and allow to sit 20 minutes to rehydrate. Meanwhile, chop onion and cremini and set aside. After the porcini rehydrate, carefully pick them out, reserving the soaking liquid. Slightly dry the porcini and roughly chop. Set aside. Bring the chicken stock to a slow simmer in a large sauce pan. Lower heat and keep warm.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized sauté pan. Add the cremini and porcini mushrooms. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sauté 4 minutes. Strain in the reserved soaking liquid, avoiding the silt that usually collects at the bottom of the bowl. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the Courvoisier and quickly ignite to flambé. As soon as the flames subside, remove off the heat, cover and set the pan aside to keep warm.

In a separate large sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium-high heat. After the foam subsides, add the onions and salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Cook 4 to 6 minutes until onions start to soften and become translucent but not brown. Lower the heat to medium and add the rice. Stir occasionally for 2 to 4 minutes until the rice turns opaque. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add about 1 cup of hot stock and stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue to stir and add 1 cup of liquid at a time, allowing it to be absorbed before the next addition. After about half of the stock is used, add the mushroom mixture to the rice. Once all the stock is absorbed, remove from heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Just before serving, add the parmesano reggiano and stir. Serve immediately, drizzling with olive oil if desired.

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