Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms (in Italian: Risotto con i Funghi Porcini) is wonderful with fresh or even dried porcini mushrooms. This risotto gets its creaminess from butter and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Gluten-free and wonderful when you are craving homemade Italian food.
Make this risotto totally vegan by using margarine in place of the butter and skip the cheese.
I have a culinary confession to make. I’ve never been crazy about porcini mushrooms. Let me clarify, I’ve never been crazy about dried porcini mushrooms.
Originally published July 2012 and updated June 2022.
I had only had dishes made with dried porcini mushrooms and never imagined how exquisite a fresh porcini would taste. Experiencing the flavor of a freshly picked porcini mushroom is difficult to explain.
In my opinion, the dried mushrooms have little to do with the fresh. But the chances of me finding fresh porcini here in Florida are pretty rare so I will still dream about this risotto and the pasta dishes we had in Aosta made with the mushrooms that zio Antonio found the weekend we stayed with them.
Zio Antonio’s hobby is finding mushrooms. He sneaks out of work as early as possible to go searching in the mountains. Sometimes he has some friends that come along with him.
They know exactly where to go. He was explaining how they get too dry and aren’t as good certain times in the summer. I couldn’t imagine how much better they could be as these were. Some were as big as a small child’s head!
When we were getting ready to leave to go back to my in-law’s house in Como, they packed us some mushrooms to go. They also packed us some dried porcini. These dried porcini made me become even a dried porcini lover. So perhaps all along I was just eating the wrong brand of porcini mushrooms.
This is the view from zio Antonio’s balcony in Aosta and the incredible lavender they have growing around their yard.
What ingredients are in a porcini risotto?
Here is all you need to make this incredible risotto (full printable recipe below)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- onion (use a red, sweet or Vidalia onion)
- Carnaroli OR Arborio rice
- dried porcini (or fresh porcini if you’re lucky)
- zucchini or spinach (or even arugula)
- white wine
- chicken stock (or broth)
- unsalted butter (margarine, if you’re vegan/dairy-free)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano (omit if you’re vegan)
The photo below is of the fresh porcini mushrooms being cooked in the pan. You could use fresh or dried.
The important thing is to have a pot of very hot broth to keep ladling into the risotto while it’s cooking. And this is how it should be rapidly bubbling while you’re stirring (and stirring!).
As soon as the rice is al dente, you add in the butter (you could use margarine if you’re dairy-free) and grate on the Parmigiano-Reggiano (skip it if you’re dairy-free or vegan).
We make risottos every week. Even on scorching hot summer days. They are lovely filled with summer’s fresh vegetables or even just with your favorite cheese. If you happen to like porcini, it’s wonderful even with dried porcini (I make mine at home with dried porcini).
What other vegetable can I add to this risotto?
The version with fresh porcini mushrooms was made in Italy my in-law’s house, a zucchini straight from nonna’s garden got thrown in the risotto. If you are lucky enough to have a green thumb (I don’t!)and have your own fresh zucchini, be sure to add them to the recipe as it’s a great way to use your fresh summer bounty.
Since we made this recently at home, fresh spinach was tossed in at the end. It only takes a minute to stir together with the rice and it cooks up. You could also add arugula.
Can you just smell the fresh lavandar?
Which is the best rice to use for risotto?
To make a really great risotto, you have to choose the best rice. Sushi rice or a long grain rice will not work. Arborio rice is good, but carnaroli is the best since it’s not easy to overcook it and it also makes the creamiest risotto.
My chef (and most great chefs) prefer the Carnaroli rice. I also absolutely LOVE the Acquerello brand rice for risotto. It’s the only one I use.
How much broth (or stock) should I use for making risotto?
For each 1 cup of rice, you should have 2.5 cups of broth (or stock).
Do I have to rinse carnaroli or arborio rice?
No, do not rinse those types of rice, as you’ll remove the starch that helps it become so creamy.
How long to toast the rice?
I prefer to cook the rice in extra-virgin olive oil and for not more than a minute.
Is it possible to overstir a risotto?
Yes! Since you’re cooking the rice on a medium simmer (see the photo above to see how it should look bubbling), you stir it every 30 seconds or so. The medium simmering will actually move and cook the rice. The important thing is to stir so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
How do I know when to ladle in more broth?
Each time you ladle in the broth, stir and let it absorb. Once it’s absorbed, ladle in some more.
What is mantecatura when making risotto?
There is no literal translation of of the Italian word mantecare to English. So the mantecatura stage is when the rice is al dente and the pot is removed from the heat. Next, you add in the butter and the Parmiginao-Reggiano and stir it all together.
This is what makes it the creamiest!
Can I make this risotto vegan?
Yes, you can! Simply sub the butter with margarine and skip the grated Parmgiano-Reggiano. You could use a grated vegan cheese in its place.
Some other Italian recipes to try:
- Pasta with Zucchini and Potatoes
- Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Pasta con le Sarde
- Easy Pasta Puttanesca Recipe
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Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- ½ ounce dried porcini broken into pieces with your hands or fresh if you’re lucky
- 1 zucchini sliced thin (or use fresh spinach)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 ½ cups chicken stock (or broth) hot
- ½ pound fresh porcini cleaned and thinly sliced (if you're using fresh, leave out the dry)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter use margarine if you're vegan/dairy-free
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano more, to taste (omit if you're vegan/dairy-free)
- Add 1 cup of hot water to a small bowl. Add the dried porcini and steep them for 15 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet; add the onion and zucchini (if using zucchini)and cook until the onions are translucent and soft (but not browned).
- Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and cook about 1-2 minutes stirring with the wooden spoon.
- Add a 4 to 6-ounce ladle of stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. If using dried porcini mushrooms, strain the liquid (reserve it) it's in and chop the dried mushrooms.
- If using dried porcini, add the dried porcini and the strained liquid they soaked into the rice.
- Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Just before adding the last 4 to 6-ounces of stock add the freshly sliced porcini (if you're using fresh porcini). Depending on if you're stock/broth was salted, check the risotto and see if it needs some salt (add salt to taste).
- Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and al dente, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- If using fresh spinach, add when the rice is al dente. Stir in the butter and cheese until well mixed.
- Serve hot. Ladle out onto plates and grate on some more Parmigiano-Reggiano (if you like). ENJOY!