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Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom Risotto is a flavorful dish that can be prepared with just a few pantry essentials. We like this version with dried mushrooms, like porcini, especially when using the soaking liquid as a substitute for some of the broth required.

Two .35 ounce packages dried porcini mushrooms
About 5 cups veal or beef stock (preferably homemade)
8 sprigs of fresh thyme plus additional for garnish
4 sprigs of fresh sage plus additional for garnish
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large leeks (white and pale green part only), quartered lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound thinly sliced cremini or portobello mushrooms (about 3 cups)
2 anchovies, drained and mashed to a paste
1 1/4 cups superfino rice
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak the dried porcini in a bowl with 1 cup hot water for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon, chop them finely, and set them aside in a small bowl. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter to remove any grit. (you should have a generous 1/3 cup liquid.)
2. Bring the stock to a full boil with the thyme, sage, bay leaves, and mushroom soaking liquid in a medium saucepan, reduce the heat, and keep it at a bare simmer.
3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan, and cook the leeks and garlic over
moderate heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until very soft but not browned, about
6 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms and the anchovies, and cook, stirring constantly, for
5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened (reduce the heat slightly if the mushrooms begin to stick). Stir in the rice, and cook, stirring
constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the wine, and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped dried mushrooms.
4. Remove the herb sprigs from the stock with a slotted spoon or tongs. Add about 1/2 cup simmering stock to the rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cook, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente, 20 to 25 minutes; season with salt and pepper about halfway through the cooking.
5. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish risotto with the additional thyme and sage sprigs, and serve immediately.

This Mushroom Risotto recipe is mushroom-y in flavor, but not overbearingly so, with a lovely buttery under taste. This is a stick-to-the-ribs, dark-brown risotto that pairs well with everything from grilled meats to Thanksgiving Turkey, and is equally delightful as a main course. Serves six as a first course.