If you are like me, you start planning your Thanksgiving menu a month in advance. Chanterelle Risotto with Truffle Butter is a dish that I like to prepare around the holidays, because it is deliciously rich and decadent. So I thought that I would post this recipe early to give you time to consider including it (or some variation) in your holiday planning. (In the U.S., Thanksgiving is one month from tomorrow – but no pressure!) Buon appetito!
Chanterelle Risotto with Truffle Butter
makes 6 first course servings
1 oz. dried Chanterelle mushrooms
1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 c. Arborio rice
2 oz. dry white wine or Scotch*
3 c. chicken or vegetable broth
crushed hot red pepper**
2 slices cooked duck bacon, chopped (omit for a vegetarian risotto)
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (loose, not packed down)
2 – 3 T. truffle butter
1. Wipe or rinse any grit off the Chanterelles. Place mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with hot water and soak for about 20 minutes. Reserving the liquid, strain the mushrooms. Strain the reserved liquid into the chicken or vegetable broth. Chop mushrooms. Set aside.
2. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 T. of the olive oil, then swirl oil around pan. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until tender and almost translucent. Remove onion from skillet. Add the remaining 1 T. olive oil and rice to skillet. Stirring frequently, cook until the rice is evenly coated with oil and starts to turn golden. Stir in the wine or Scotch. Allow the rice to cook until the liquid is almost entirely absorbed. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, heat broth until simmering. Cover and keep it at a simmer until you have finished cooking risotto.
3. Raise the temperature under the skillet to about medium-high. Add enough broth (about 1/2 c.) to cover bottom of skillet. The skillet should be hot enough to allow the broth to keep simmering. Stir occasionally. Continue the process of adding small amounts of broth and letting the rice absorb the broth. When rice is about half-cooked, stir in mushrooms and onions. Continue adding broth and cooking rice, until the rice is almost cooked and the broth is almost absorbed. (If you run out of broth, simmer a little water to finish recipe.)
4. Shortly before rice is done cooking, sprinkle lightly with hot pepper, then stir in duck bacon.*** Add a hunk of truffle butter to risotto. Stir vigorously to melt and to distribute evenly. Stir in freshly grated Parmesan cheese until melted. Taste. Adjust seasonings (salt, pepper, cheese) if necessary. Serve immediately.
* Scotch is not traditionally used in making risottos, but the flavor blends well with the mushrooms and duck bacon and does not overwhelm the truffle butter. For a more traditional risotto, use white wine.
** How much pepper you should use depends on your pepper. I usually use crushed, dried Chenzo peppers from my garden, which are very hot, and I only use about 1/8 t. You want to use enough so that there is just a faint heat to the flavor of the dish. Err on the side of adding too little pepper. You can always add more when you adjust the seasonings.
*** When the risotto is finished, the rice grains should be just somewhat tender but still distinct in shape and texture – and definitely not mushy. Recipes often call for risotto to be al dente, but I find that sometimes people undercook the rice in an effort not to overcook it. The rice should be creamy not crunchy. Keep in mind that for a short while, the rice will continue cooking from the heat of the risotto. Achieving the proper degree of doneness might take a little practice. A finished risotto should be a bit loose and jiggly in consistency, but not runny or liquidy.