Winning recipe--Chef Charles Dale, Renaissance Restaurant, Aspen, Colorado. Charles' tips: Any combination of mushrooms will work. Use cold chicken stock (even though simmering stock is typically used in risotto) to prevent splattering. Make sure there's some liquid left in the risotto; in fact, it should be pourable because the rice will absorb it as it sits. Always salt mushrooms after they are sautéed, or the salt will pull out their natural water and they'll poach.
To prepare risotto, combine water and broth; set aside. Melt butter in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup shallots; cover and cook 2 minutes. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, uncovered, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup wine; cook 30 seconds or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in Gouda; cook just until melted. Stir in spinach; cook just until spinach is wilted.
To prepare mushrooms, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add 1/3 cup shallots, 1/4 cup wine, chopped thyme, chopped rosemary, and minced garlic, and sauté 1 minute or until wine is absorbed. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Divide risotto evenly among 6 bowls; top with mushroom mixture, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.
Renaissance Restaurant, Aspen, Colorado
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