To give as a gift, pour rice in a jar and top with dried mushrooms. Bundle the thyme and bay leaf in a cheesecloth sachet, and place in jar. Along with a copy of this recipe, you could also give a bottle of red wine like Barbera or pinot noir or a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
5 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
7 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Combine mushrooms and 2 cups boiling water in a bowl. Cover and let stand 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse in a colander; drain. Chop mushrooms.
Bring broth to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf. Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of the broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Discard bay leaf. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper.
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