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Mushroom risotto

(Béatrice peltre for the boston globe)
December 10, 2008
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Serves 4

Risotto is easier to make than most people think. Start with the right short-grain Italian rice: Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, or Arborio (this is the best known). To create the right texture, which should be creamy, add stock gradually, waiting for each ladle to be absorbed before adding more. Here, the rice is mixed with mushrooms, mascarpone, and grated pecorino. Add salad and you've put your efforts in the right place.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pound mix of cremini, chanterelle, and trumpet mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
3 tablespoons mascarpone or creme fraiche
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
Extra parsley leaves (for garnish)
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Cook mushrooms, salt, and pepper over high heat, stirring, for 6 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of wine. Cook until the liquid evaporates.

2. In a saucepan, heat the stock.

3. In a flameproof casserole, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook the shallot and thyme for 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the remaining 1/3 cup of wine and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the liquid evaporates.

4. Add stock 1 cup at a time and cook, stirring, until each cup is absorbed before adding more. The rice should be tender with a little bite. Add the mushrooms with a few more tablespoons of stock. Stir constantly for 2 more minutes (total cooking time is 15 to 20 minutes).

5. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper, if you like, and turn off the heat. Stir in the mascarpone or creme fraiche, parsley, and pecorino. Cover and set aside for 2 minutes. Discard the thyme and garnish with parsley leaves. Béatrice Peltre

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