This Creamy Mushroom Risotto can be served either as a main course or side dish. Gluten free and vegetarian Italian recipe with lots of mushroom flavor.
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Risotto is one of my all-time favorite foods, and possibly number one.
I just LOVE a delicious risotto.
I fell in love with the dish when I was in Italy for college and made it a goal to master risotto at home.
Now that I know how to make a great risotto, I have taken to making as many flavor variations as I can dream of!
Risotto recipes are a great base for adding so many flavors and ingredients.
You can add any meats or proteins as desired to many risotto recipes.
I love just loading up the veggies!
What is in Mushroom Risotto?
Here is what you need to make this creamy mushroom risotto:
- Arborio Rice
- Vegetable Stock
- Mushrooms (any mix you like!)
- Dried Thyme
- Red Onion
- White WIne
- Parmesan Cheese
- Black Pepper
How to Make Risotto Without Wine
Want to make a risotto without wine? Not a problem!
You can easily omit the wine and instead add the juice of a lemon instead to bring the same acidity.
You can save the lemon until the end and start with just a little, adding as much as you want.
What Makes a Risotto Creamy?
It is the type of rice that is used! 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 rice 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.
Do you really need to stir the risotto so 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 mushroom 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 ever risotto I made was when I was constantly stirring.
What Types of Mushrooms Do I Use?
Any type of mushrooms that you want!
I like to grab a small package of mixed mushrooms and then supplement the rest of the weight with some crimini (baby portabellas).
The packages tend to have combinations of shitake mushrooms, crimini, oyster mushrooms, and porcini.
If you want to use just one mushroom type, great!
Whatever you like and can find will work beautifully.
Preparing the Mushrooms
Cut the mushrooms into slices or wedges, however small or large you like them in this easy mushroom risotto.
I personally tend to favor larger pieces because they keep the firm texture better than small or thin pieces.
If you have the pre-mixed mushroom boxes, oftentimes they are already packed with small pieces.
If you find youself with both large and small mushrooms, no problem!
Just add your larger mushrooms to the pot to cook first, and then after a few minutes add the smaller mushrooms.
This way your smaller mushrooms are not overcooked by the time the larger ones are ready.
Does Risotto have to have Cheese?
It is not required, but it makes a big difference.
The cheese adds amazing flavor and also helps make the risotto a little creamier than just the rice alone.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto
- Place the stock in a small pot and heat over medium low. You want the stock to be warm when adding it to the risotto so that the temperature change does not affect the rice.
- Clean, trim, and cut your mushrooms into pieces, as large or small as you prefer.
- In a large pot, melt 3 Tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. When melted, add your mushrooms.
- Cook the mushrooms until they are just starting to release their liquids, or as soft/firm as desired. Remove the mushrooms from the pot, leaving any remaining butter, and set aside.
- Add 2 Tablespoons butter to the pot. Add the red onion to the pot when the butter has melted. Cook until the onion is translucent but not yet browning, approximately 3-5 minutes.`
- Add the rice and stir. Continue cooking to slightly toast the rice until it is just starting to show a little brown color, approximately 3-5 minutes.`
- Add the white wine to the pot. Cook until the rice is almost dry, where most of the wine has been absorbed.
- Add the thyme and one cup of stock to the rice. Stir continuously until most of the stock has been absorbed. Repeat this process 1/2 cup of stock at a time until the rice is cooked thoroughly. You want the rice to have just a little bit of bite left so that it is not completely mushy. Depending on your rice, you may need more or less stock for the right consistency so start tasting the rice after 4 cups.
- When your rice is cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Add the remaining butter and Parmesan cheese. It is important to do this before adding salt and pepper because the cheese is salty. Stir to combine and until the cheese and butter have melted into the risotto.
- Stir in your mushrooms. Taste the risotto and season with additional Parmesan, salt, and pepper as desired. Depending on your cheese, you may need no salt, or a couple teaspoons. Serve immediately.