Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Morel Mushroom Risotto

I had never even heard of morel mushrooms until culinary school and, since living in Iowa, I now know why they are such a luxury. The morels have been in full abundance this year and several hunters have been successful. I got lucky enough to have some given to me (a chef's dream!) so I thought hard as to what to make with them. 

Risotto is one of my go-to comfort foods. The mushrooms work especially well in this dish because the arborio rice really sucks up all that mushroom flavor. The smoky bacon, salty pecorino cheese and fresh flat-leaf parsley balance out this dish perfectly. A true gourmet treat! 





1. Place mushrooms in a bowl of salted water to clean off any sand or dirt. Let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Remove mushrooms to a second bowl of 4 cups lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms from water, reserving the water for later.

3. Cut mushrooms into pieces and set aside.

4. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, 4-5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a bowl.


6. Saute shallots in the same skillet until they are translucent, about 1 minute. Add arborio rice and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in white wine and cook until fully absorbed.



7. Stir in 1 cup chicken stock; repeat this process with the remaining chicken stock until it has been absorbed and the rice is creamy. Add 2 cups reserved mushroom water as well as the chopped mushrooms, reserved bacon and thyme.




8. Finish the risotto with 1/4 cup pecorino romano, salt and pepper. Garnish each plate of rice with parsley and more cheese.



Morel Mushroom Risotto
Serves 8

All you need:
2 cups morel mushrooms
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices bacon, diced
2 shallots, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups reserved mushroom water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, divided
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Place mushrooms in a bowl of salted water to clean off any sand or dirt. Let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Remove mushrooms to a second bowl of 4 cups lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms from water, reserving the water for later.
3. Cut mushrooms into pieces and set aside.
4. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, 4-5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a bowl.
6. Saute shallots in the same skillet until they are translucent, about 1 minute. Add arborio rice and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in white wine and cook until fully absorbed.
7. Stir in 1 cup chicken stock; repeat this process with the remaining chicken stock until it has been absorbed and the rice is creamy. Add 2 cups reserved mushroom water as well as the chopped mushrooms, reserved bacon and thyme.
8. Finish the risotto with 1/4 cup pecorino romano, salt and pepper. Garnish each plate of rice with parsley and more cheese.

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