Inspired by Marcella Hazan, this recipe is a variation of her dried mushroom risotto published a few years ago.
There are hundreds of variations of risotto and one needn’t be too preoccupied with the quantities as long as patience and care
In this particular recipe, I have added sweet Italian sausage which is browned and then added after the mushroom risotto has been cooked.
I have made the following variations to Marcella’s classic recipe:
- Slice the sausage into small pieces and brown. This can be done while the dried porcini mushrooms are rehydrating.
- I use white wine. Red wine is just as good, but it tends to darken the risotto.
- Do use the water (about 2 cups) where the porcini mushrooms have rehydrated. It
addintensity to the risotto. Make sure you strain the water to remove any impurities.
- Add all the funghi water before incorporating the broth into the risotto.
Funghi Porcini Risotto with Italian Sausage
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage sliced in 3/8″ pieces
- 1 1/2 ounces imported dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup white wine or red wine for darker color
- 3 cups of meat or chicken broth
- 1/2 small yellow onion can use 1 full onion
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (neutral)
- 2 cups raw Italian Arborio rice
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt if necessary
- Freshly grated pepper about 4 twists of the mill
For the Sausage
- With the sweet Italian sausage cut into circular pieces about 3/8″ thickly. Gently brown on both sides in a small skillet. Set aside.
For the Risotto
- Soak the mushrooms in 2 cups of lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes before cooking. After the liquid turns very dark, stain it through a sieve lined with paper towels and set aside. Continue soaking and rinsing the mushrooms in frequent changes of water until the mushrooms are soft and thoroughly free of soil.
- Bring the broth or the canned broth and water to a slow, steady simmer.
- In a heavy-bottomed casserole, over medium-high heat, sauté the chopped onion in half the butter (2 tablespoons) and all the oil until translucent but not brown. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated. Sauté lightly for a few moments and then add the cup of wine and allow alcohol to burn off.
- Add the reserved porcini liquid and allow the liquid to be incorporated into the rice.
- As needed adding a ladleful of the simmering broth after the liquid is fully absorbed into the rice. Stir frequently to avoid having the risotto stick. When the rice has cooked for 10 to 12 minutes add the mushrooms. (If you run out of broth, add water).
- When the rice is done, turn off the heat and mix in the grated Parmesan and the rest of the butter. Taste and correct for salt. Add a few twists of pepper and mix.
- Spoon the rice into a hot serving platter and serve immediately with a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the side. If using the sausage, make a small indentation in the middle of the risotto and add a few pieces of the browned sausage.