Creamy Dreamy

Dinner:  November 17, 2008

Risotto really is just about perfect comfort food, isn’t it? I make it fairly often in lots of variations, but a mushroom-studded version is one of my favorites. I generally use dried mushrooms from the pantry, along with the liquid left from soaking them, but last night’s version featured only the fresh kind – a mixture of crimini, shiitake, and hen of the woods, which were sauteed in the same pan with butter, olive oil, and softened chopped shallots.


I threw a thinly sliced fresh red chile into the pan, too, to add a little heat, and a few leaves of thinly sliced fresh sage in lieu of my usual thyme. Since I wasn’t going to have that concentrated umami flavor from the addition of mushroom soaking liquid, I added a dab of tomato paste instead, letting it caramelize on the softened veggies and toasting rice before I gradually added my liquids to the pan (white vermouth and plain old water). I usually finish risottos with a knob of butter, but since I had used up the last we had on hand in the sauteeing, I drizzled in a little bit of heavy cream. The finished dish was a bit more delicate in flavor than my usual mushroom risotto, more cashmere blanket than woolen throw, but just as cozy and satisfying.

13 thoughts on “Creamy Dreamy

  1. That looks amazing!!! I’m the only person I know who likes risotto, so I still haven’t made it yet haha… MMM so tempting that photo makes me drool… MUSHROOMS <3333

  2. I absolutely agree about risotto being a comfort food… the only problem is the amount of dedication you need to give to the stirring! I suppose that does make it all the more comforting when you actually get there, but sometimes when you need comfort food, you could do with someone else doing the stirring!

    This looks wonderful by the way.

  3. That looks so divine. I rarely attempt risotto, but I am such a lover of mushrooms that I will try some variation of this very soon.

    Incidentally, running out of butter is a mortal fear of mine!

  4. Yummy! I have had success with less orthodox risottos in varying textures: barley being my favorite (with asparagus- addictive). But in trying for a recent recipe with mushrooms, I was stumped as to where to get a certain kind of flavorful mushroom called for, and I think it was cremini- they were super expensive, both in the store and at the FM. Any better ideas? Thank you for doing such a great job with your descriptions and being such a faithful updater! I love ‘stopping by’ !

  5. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks, everyone!

    Margaret – yeah, dried porcini can be pricey, but remember a little goes a long way. One thing I often look for is dried cepes – they’re basically the same thing as porcini, but for some reason tend to be much less expensive. Good luck!

  6. For good prices on dried porcini, try any of the markets up in Arthur Ave in the Bronx. The best one is Teitel Brothers, and you can order online from them here:

    I get my parmigiano reggiano, semolina flour, and porcini mushrooms there.

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