truffle + mushroom risotto with mascarpone
Risotto has always been one of my favorite “fancy” meals. I’ve made it hundreds of times in restaurants, in as many iterations as you can imagine, so I feel like I’ve gotten it down to a bit of a science. I love eating it and so I order it often when we go out, but my god, I am a risotto snob. It’s such a simple dish that it becomes incredibly apparent when it’s been prepared wrong. First of all, the texture of risotto is the most important thing. It’s what separates risotto from just rice on a plate. I have eaten too many dishes of risotto where you can stand your spoon straight up in the bowl. Risotto, when served, should spread slowly like lava. LIKE LAVA. It’s not soupy, and it’s not sticky rice. It’s somewhere in the middle. The best gauge for risotto success is having it slowly spread when you ladle it into a bowl. Thus, risotto should never be served on a plate in a restaurant. If it comes to me on a plate, I’m ready to flip the table because that means the risotto is too stiff. Also, never go out to eat with me, clearly I am an insane person.
Aside from my persnickety tastes when it comes to this glorious dish, risotto is exceedingly easy to make and home and it’ll impress guests at any dinner party. Now, when it comes to truffle, I am a huge fan. As is such with any potent ingredient, it’s really easy to overdo. This is why I almost never use truffle oil, it’s a little too strong for my taste. It can be subbed here if that’s all you have, but I like to keep a small jar in my fridge (linked below on amazon) to stir into sauces, risotto, mac n’ cheese, etc. It’s got little bits of real truffle in it and is definitely closer to the real thing than any oil I’ve ever tasted.
There’s probably an italian grandmother rolling over in her grave somewhere, but I stand by my gratuitous use of mascarpone cheese. It’s not strictly traditional, but it gives the best texture and creaminess to the risotto. Also, please use homemade broth or stock for this recipe. It’s too damn easy to make and keep in a freezer to not have it on hand. I made my risotto with chicken broth (made in an hour in the instant pot by the way) but using a really good veggie broth keeps the recipe vegetarian. Throw some veggie scraps in a pot of water (or your instant pot!!), boil, and you’ve got better vegetable broth than anything from the store. Follow my steps and you’ll be dining on restaurant quality risotto in no time at all!
Products I used in this recipe:
truffle + mushroom risotto with mascarpone
- 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice or medium grain rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups broth, preferably homemade, warmed
- 12 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 2 tablespoons black truffle puree (or truffle oil, if using)
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
- salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- chopped chives, for garnish
- Heat two tablespoons butter over medium heat in a wide bottomed skillet or pan with at least 3 inch sides. Add minced shallot to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add rice and stir with a wooden spoon to coat in the butter so that all the grains are shiny. Toast rice for about 1 minute. Add wine and stir into the rice continuously.
- Once the wine has been absorbed into the rice, add 1 cup of warm broth while constantly stirring the pot. This is the key to risotto, continuous stirring which releases starch from the rice and creates creaminess. Once that broth has been absorbed, add another cup. A trick to tell when it's time to add more broth is if the bottom of the pan is exposed when you drag your spoon across the bottom. You will continue to add broth, 1 cup at a time, while stirring until it has been absorbed into the rice and the rice is just slightly al dente. You don't want it to be mushy, it should still have a tiny bite to it. This whole process will take about 20 minutes, so don't rush. Just have a glass of wine and enjoy the stirring.
- While rice is cooking (and you're stirring), heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a cast iron. Add the mushrooms and let them sear on one side until golden brown. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Once rice has reached desired doneness, turn off the heat. Stir in 2/3 of the cooked mushrooms, truffle puree (or oil), remaining 5 tablespoons butter, mascarpone and parmesan cheese. Stir until all the cheese and butter has melted. At this point, taste for salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Ladle the risotto into bowls. It should have the texture of slow moving lava and not be a stiff ball. Top with extra mushrooms, parmesan and chopped chives.