Mushroom Red Wine Risotto with Parmesan Cheese is a delicious, hearty comfort food.
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While I love a LOT of food, Italian is probably my favorite genre. And within that genre, risotto is quite possibly my absolute favorite. It is difficult to find in restaurants, even in Italy, because it takes a lot of love and time to make it properly. This Mushroom Red Wine Risotto with Parmesan Cheese uses red wine instead of white wine and is full of earthy, hearty flavors. I can just eat risotto as-is, but this would also be great with some extra roasted veggies like Brussels sprouts, some chicken, shrimp, or sausage.
I used to be so intimidated by risotto, so it took me a long time to even attempt to make it. And I was convinced it would be difficult and I could not get the rice to the proper texture. With all of the stirring and the gradual adding of liquid, it seems like you have to really pay attention and know what you are doing. But I have always loved it so I knew I needed to give it a go. Turns out making risotto is not so complicated! It just takes a little time and attention with the stirring.
Does the rice type really matter?
Yes! Arborio rice is high in starch and as this starch is released in the cooking process, it gives risotto the creamy texture. Arborio is also a short grain which means it stays a little firm and chewy. You want risotto to have just a little bite or texture to it and not be soggy or too soft. You can find arborio rice at most grocery stores. I like to get mine online in bulk here.
Do I really need to stir it that much?
In my opinion, yes. Some people say that they do not notice a difference and just let the rice sit there and cook in all of the liquid at once. But I DO notice a difference. The stirring and gradually adding of the liquid definitely makes the risotto creamier. Grab a glass of wine or a friend and hang out with your risotto for a bit, stirring as it cooks. Yes, you can go back and forth to the pot stirring every few minutes, but the best risotto I ever made was when I was constantly stirring.
Can I just use my canned Parmesan instead?
The quality of Parmesan in this dish is extremely important. The cheese is a primary flavor and so you want to use ingredients that taste good as it will just make the dish better. If you use that pre-ground, cheese in a can stuff, it will not taste as good. You get out of it what you put into it! I love to buy wedges of Parmesan Reggiano cheese and use one of my favorite tools, a food processor, to shred the brick and then I keep it in my refrigerator in plastic bags or a container so that I always have fresh, quality cheese shredded on hand. If you make higher-quality foods easier to access, you will use them more often.
Also, did you know risotto is gluten free?! If you have never made risotto, you can do it! It is worth the extra time to make something as dreamy, luxurious, and delicious as this Mushroom Red Wine Risotto with Parmesan Cheese.