A dollop of mascarpone, a buttery-rich Italian cheese, gives this risotto its luxurious creamy consistency. Porcini mushrooms have a smooth, meaty texture when hydrated; their pungent, woodsy taste gives an extraordinary depth to this dish.
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 ounce)
1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
3/4 cup chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) mascarpone cheese
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)
How to Make It
Combine 2 cups boiling water and mushrooms; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain through a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1 1/2 cups soaking liquid; chop mushrooms.
Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep broth mixture warm over low heat.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add rice, shallots, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).
Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Add mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano, chopped thyme, salt, and pepper; stir gently just until the cheese melts. Spoon 1 cup risotto into each of 4 bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon mascarpone and thyme leaves, if desired.
This recipe originally ran in Cooking Light December, 2005 and was updated for the November, 2012 25th anniversary issue.