Although I usually prefer fast and easy recipes, some recipes deserve all the time and patience you can give them and reward you with rich, intense flavor that is so delicious you cannot imagine it until you taste it. This double mushroom risotto is exactly that kind of recipe. I spent hours on the broth – an investment that paid of with rich flavors that infused every bite of the risotto.
I used leg shank marrow bones – three two inch shank cuts (about 2 pounds). There is no more flavorful meat for making broth than the shanks with the rich leg bones filled with marrow. I put about 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of my stock pot and heated it up. I placed the shanks flat on the heated oil and browned them on both sides which adds to the color and the flavor of the stock. Then I added 1 cup of chopped onion, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp of dried thyme and let them cook a bit until the onions turned transparent. I then added enough water to completely cover the meat and brought to a boil before reducing heat to a simmer. I let it simmer with a cover on it for a few hours before adding 1 oz of dried porcini mushrooms and then let it cook another half hour. I put it in the fridge overnight to cool before straining it in the morning. I ended up with 11 cups of broth which is exactly the amount I needed for this double batch of risotto. I heated it up to a low simmer while I cooked the risotto since it needed to be the same temperature as the risotto so it could be added bit by bit at temperature for even absorption and perfect consistency.
The next step was dry sautéing 4 cups of sliced button or crimini mushrooms. To do this, I put them in my pan and turned the heat up and stirred for about 6 minutes while they cooked without any oil or water. I then added 4 TBSP of butter and 2/3rds cup of chopped yellow onions and 1 tsp of dried thyme. (I would have used a sprig of fresh thyme if I had it.) I cooked until the onions became tender.
Then I added good quality red wine – 1 1/3 cup and set it simmer until it was cooked down by half. When it was done, I added 3 1/2 cups of arborio rice and stirred it in and cooked for a couple minutes before adding 1 cup of the broth and stirring while it was absorbed.
I then continued to add 1 cup of broth at a time – until all 11 cups were absorbed. The rice was still a bit toothsome and the liquid was still not completely absorbed when I removed from the heat and added 1/2 cup of grated parmesan to melt into the risotto. With the lid on it, the rest of the liquid was completely absorbed without any risk of the risotto getting mushy which would be criminal.
The result is a perfect creamy risotto with intense mushroom and beef flavor. It’s addictive, so be sure you make it for an event where other people will help eat it all.