Risotti that use dried mushrooms are difficult to get right.
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
I 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 I 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 1/2cup simmering stock to the rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 1/2cup 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.
Risotti that use dried mushrooms are difficult to get right. You want the full mushroom flavor to permeate the dish, of course...so most chefs are tempted to use lots of the liquid in which the mushrooms soaked as stock for the dish. But this can make the dish too intense; it often ends up tasting like concentrated mushroom soup from a dried powder. The following recipe gets it just right: mushroomy, but not overbearingly so, with a lovely buttery undertaste. we're mixing our mushrooms here to bring out the most complex mushroom flavor. This is a stick-to-the-ribs, dark-brown risotto; don't forget to lighten it a bit by adding a little extra stock right at the end.|Serves 6 as a first course