Mushroom Risotto

Sometimes we’ll go to the Ferry Building farmer’s market on Saturday in San Francisco just to eat lunch. They’ve steadily added more and more restaurants over the years and it’s now such a popular food destination on its own, they could nix the farmer’s market and I don’t know if the throngs of tourists would even notice. Locals would never stand for that, though.

The market on the pier just outside the Ferry Building has become part of the whole San Francisco experience. As much a part of it as driving down Lombard Street or eating a bowl of cioppino at the Wharf. I do enjoy wandering through the market. This trip, like many many others, ended with us eating oysters and clam chowder at Hog Island Oyster Co.

I always tell myself when I go to the Ferry Building that I’ll just pick up whatever looks fresh and I’ll figure out what to make with it later when I get back home. This time it was shiitake mushrooms and here it is: mushroom risotto.

Mushrooms at a blowout a price, I might add ($4), how could I pass that up?


  • 1 oz dried porcinis
  • 6 oz fresh mushrooms (any will do, I chose shiitake), sliced thin
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter, separated
  • 1 shallot, finely finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry Sherry
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped to about 2 tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • Coarse salt and pepper

Place dried porcinis and stock saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add arborio rice and saute, 2-3 minutes more. Add Sherry and cook until the liquid is completely absorbed. Add a few ladles of the hot vegetable stock, then reduce heat slightly and simmer, stirring constantly,  until almost all the liquid is absorbed.

Remove porcini mushrooms from water and place onto a cutting board. Reserve the cooking liquid. Coarsely chop the porcinis and add them to the pot with the rice. Continue to ladle broth into arborio rice, half the remaining amount at a time. Stir mixture each time you add more broth and take it off the heat when the rice is cooked to al dente, usually around 20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking and you’re stirring constantly, here’s one more thing for you to do: heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and 1 tbsp thyme, and 1 tsp salt and stir, coating all the mushrooms with the oil/butter. Saute the mushrooms for about 4 minutes, or until they start to brown slightly. Take off the heat but leave them in the pan.

Stir in 1 tsp thyme and a few handfuls of grated cheese. Season your risotto with salt and pepper to your taste. Serve creamy mushroom risotto from the hot pan topped with a few spoonfuls of the shiitakes and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.


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