She’s a beauty. She’s a grace. She is a little controversial, but damn risotto is delicious. This creamy parmesan mushroom risotto is an earthy and hearty dish. Flavored with stock, thyme, mushrooms and topped with salty parmesan cheese this dish is comfort in a bowl. This easy and less intimidating approach to risotto does require a little attention, but in no way will you get an arm workout cooking it. The best part, whether you use these flavors or take this method and treat risotto as a blank canvas, it’s done in under 25 minutes.
Somehow making risotto has gotten a bad rep. It has become one of the most intimidating dishes to make, hence why it’s a hot item to order out. Why? Because everyone has an opinion on how it should be made, the consistency, the pot it needs to be made in, and for the most part people believe that the only way to make a good risotto is to sit over the stove and mix it the entire time. Which is false. I can tell you after making risotto for years and doing extensive research that for every bold statement there is about how to make this creamy rice dish there is a debunk. You do not need to continuously stir or cook it in a wide shallow pan. You do not need to rinse your rice beforehand. A few things hold however:
Risotto should be creamy, not gluey. That gluey consistency can actually come from over mixing. When placed on a plate or bowl it should be loose, spread a little, but not run off the plate.
The rice should be cooked al dente.
Cheese, cream, and pre-cooked vegetables or protein should be added at the last few minutes.
What You’ll Need for Parmesan Mushroom Risotto
Arborio Rice – The most common and accessible rice used to make risotto, and the variety used in this recipe. Carnaroli is another variety that works well, and is preferred. No, you cannot use a long grain rice for this. It absorbs liquid differently, has a different starch level, it just wont yield the same creamy results.
Broth – For this mushroom risotto I go with beef broth since it pairs nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms. If you are vegetarian, beef broth can be swapped out for vegtable stock.
Baby Bella Mushrooms
Thyme – Fresh or dried. If opting for dried use 3/4 tbsp instead of 1 tbsp.
Parmesan Cheese– Freshly grated.
Salt & Pepper
Step By Step
Regardless if making this creamy parmesan mushroom risotto or another variety, below is the step by step approach I take.
In butter or oil sauté the base, or heartier vegetables and herbs. In this variety we sauté the onions, mushrooms, and thyme until soft.
Toast risotto for 3-5 minutes until grains start to become translucent.
If adding wine (we aren’t in this recipe) deglaze the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until alcohol cooks off. Add the broth, but not all at once. For every cup of risotto you need approx 4 cups of broth. Depending on your pan this might be split into 3 or 4 rounds. I pour just enough broth to cover the risotto.
Mix 1-2 times per broth add. Also give the pan a shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Once broth has mostly absorbed add more broth until all broth has been used.
In the last few minutes add the cheese, cream, and more delicate vegetables or precooked protein (ie. lobster or crab).
Risotto should be creamy, and loose. Keep in mind it will firm up more the longer it sits out so eat immediately!
1tbspthymepulled off stem left whole. If using dried 3/4 tbsp
1/2cupparmesan cheesefreshly grated
Warm the broth separately on the stove.
In a pot on medium-low heat melt butter. Once melted add onions, mushrooms, thyme, and a 1/2 tsp of salt. Sweat and cook down for 3-5 minutes.
Once sweated out add rice. Toast rice for another 3 minuted until grains begin to become translucent.
Add the first round of broth. Depending on the pan add broth until it just covers the risotto. (could be 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups). Give it a quick mix, a shake of the pan to ensure all grains are covered and cook until rice absorbs the majority of the broth.
Add more broth and repeat above steps. If you are worried about the rice sticking you can shake the pan or mix at any time.
Once all broth has been added, but not completely absorbed (15-18 minutes of cooking) give it a taste. Rice should be loose, creamy, and al dente. Add in parmesan cheese and give it a mix. Salt to taste. Remove from heat. Eat immediately. Enjoy!