- 5–7 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced, divided
- 1 pound fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced (or mixed shiitake, oyster, portobello)
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (rosemary would work too though use only 1 tablespoon)2 tbsp fresh italian parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (or mixed dried wild mushrooms)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1–3 tbsp unsalted butter to finish (we didn’t find this necessary)
- For the crispy sage
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 10 –12 large sage leaves
- For the Sausage (if using)
- 6 Italian sausages, hot or sweet
Make the crispy sage: Heat the oil in a small skillet or saucepan (if making sausages as well, make sure they’ll fit in the pan) on medium-high until shimmering. Add the sage and tilt the pan, as needed, to make sure the sage is sizzling in the hot oil. Cook until the leaves darken and turn crisp, about 30 – 60 seconds. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. If you’re making the sausages, add them to the pan and cook until brown and fully cooked. Set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.
Make the risotto: In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth and keep warm over low heat. Place the dried mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl or mixing jug and pour over 1 cup of the hot stock. Set aside for 10 minutes then take out the mushrooms and give them a rough chop if the pieces are large. Reserve the mushroom soaking broth.
Preheat a high-sided pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and all the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the fresh mushrooms and spread out into a single layer as best as possible. Let the mushrooms cook without stirring until they turn deep golden brown on one side (4-5 minutes). Give them a stir, add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook until other side browns (3-4 minutes). Add 2 cloves of the garlic and the reconstituted dried mushrooms.
Sauté for another minute then remove mushroom mix to a bowl and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Saute the onion and the remaining garlic clove until onion turns translucent (4-5 minutes). Add the rice and stir until it is well-coated, cook it for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and stir until it’s nearly all evaporated.
Stir in a ladle full of hot broth along with the reserved mushroom soaking liquid (note: leave out the last bit of mushroom broth, and don’t swirl it as you pour, as there may be grit on the bottom which you do not want to add). Stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the broth one ladle at a time, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be tender but still with a little bit of bite (al dente) as well as creamy (you may not need to add all the stock). It will thicken as it sits so make it a little looser than you want it to ultimately be (if you want it creamier, this is when you stir in the extra butter). Stir in the mushrooms and Parmesan cheese and top with the crispy sage and sausage (if using).
The dish could easily be made vegan by eliminating the butter and cheese. Cook the mushrooms just in oil, and to replace the salty pop that Parmesan gives, try finishing the dish with frizzled capers (capers cooked in a little hot oil until the crisp up).