Risotto – from our Test Kitchen

Creamy mushroom risotto is a one pot meal, that comes together simply – with a little patience. This dish went from being a Test Kitchen experiment – to a regular weekday family favorite meal or side dish.

There is printable recipe card at the end of this post!

Risotto – Photo by Ilaria on Pexels.com

Rice is Versatile

Growing up in a meat and potato family, about the only time I can remember having rice is when we ordered it with North American style Chinese food, or used it to stuff a trout or bell pepper -which is hard to believe, as my mother was a wonderful cook, and rice – well let’s just say is the most versatile food in the world.

rice varieties
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

With over 40,000 varieties, and available in short, medium and long grain, it can be boiled, steamed or slowly sautéed and stewed. It can be used to salvage wet electronics, clean coffee grinders, vases & bottles and will keep salt dry and separated in humid climates –  not surprising it is even thrown at weddings, symbolizing a rain of wealth, prosperity and of course fertility. Although its’ reputation was briefly tarnished, as it was believed to be harmful to birds until recently proven otherwise.

Arborio Rice

My favorite rice dish is Risotto, which is typically made with an Italian short-grain rice called arborio; a plump grain, high in starch creating the classic creamy and rich Risotto texture. The flavors you can create are infinite and you can just about throw measurements out the window. Honestly, it is easy to make and has only one key ingredient – patience. Our entire family just loves it!

*(see note below recipe card regarding arborio vs carnaroli and aged rice)*

arborio rice
2 cups Arborio Rice

Here is one of our favorites: Mushroom Risotto served with crusty garlic toast and Caesar salad – feeds 5.


Mushroom Risotto Recipe

Total cooking and prep time: 30 minutes

Mushroom Risotto Ingredients

  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 6 cups low salt vegetable stock or stock of choice
  • Lots of sliced mushrooms of choice (I like white mushrooms). I say lots, but how about 4 cups?
  • 1 medium sized onion of choice (we use cooking onions), diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup or so of white wine (like a pinot grigio) – save some for the Risotto. You can substitute with 1/4 cup of lemon juice if desired
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan
  • Olive oil and butter
  • Salt and pepper

***for vegan, don’t use butter or parmesan: Our vegan daughter loves this dish

Mushroom Risotto Preparation

Sautee mushrooms in a separate frying pan – season to taste.

Sauteed Mushrooms
Sauteed Mushrooms

Bring stock to a boil and keep hot in a separate saucepan. In another saucepan (stewing pot) coat with 3 TBSP of olive oil at medium heat and saute onions until opaque.  

Add rice and garlic and stir in well. You want to toast the rice but not burn or fry – it should look somewhat opaque.

Toast arborio rice, add wine and continue stirring
Toast arborio rice, add wine and continue stirring

When rice is lightly toasted add white wine and continue stirring. When wine is cooked away and absorbed, ladle in about 1 cup hot stock, – continue stirring.

When stock is absorbed, ladle in more stock.

Ladle in more stock
Ladle in more stock

From this point forward you will repeat this process until rice is soft and creamy – al-dente; process takes 15 to 20 minutes. Sample now and then.

Turn off heat. Stir in 1 TBSP of butter and grated parmesan. Stir in 2/3rds of the mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste. You can put a lid on it and let sit for 2 minutes if desired.

Ladle on plate, lightly top with fresh parmesan and remaining mushrooms. Serve beside salad and crusty garlic bread.

Stir in butter and parmesan
Stir in butter and parmesan

This pairs well with a zesty pinot grigio.

Note: If you run out of stock during the cooking process, hot water can be used.

Experiment with this dish – substitute bacon for mushrooms, add shrimp or your favorite herb or serve alongside your favorite prepared salmon. The options are endless.

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Risotto with Mushrooms
Risotto with Mushrooms


Below is a printable recipe card from RecipesGenerator. Please give it a try!

A Few more Rice FAQs:

Aged Rice, Carnaroli, Vialone Nano and Aged Rice:

Arborio rice is our rice of preference for preparing risotto, because it is readily available these days and has a high starch content and the ability to absorb liquid. These are the properties required to create that creamy but firm consistency that we love. With the popularity and importance of making the perfect risotto, additional varieties are now prized as the preferred choices for preparing this dish. Carnaroli is an italian hybridized rice with the short, rounded texture and a firm texture. Vialone Nano is another rice variety which can absorb even more liquid.

Acquerello Rice (Aged Risotto Rice)

Apparently aging rice makes it even more delicious. Acquerollo rice is Carnaroli rice that has been aged in a silo for at least a year. (More aging is apparently better). Aging in a temperature controlled silo, sweetens the rice and hardens the grains. Who knew?

Mushroom Risotto from our test kitchen
Mushroom Risotto

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We recommend making mushroom risotto at home. Once you get the knack of it, it will become a staple for you too!

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6 thoughts on “Risotto – from our Test Kitchen

  1. I certainly know about “meat and potato” families — I grew up in one. Rice was “exotic,” and usually instant rice — blech! Not until I was introduced to basmati and jasmine rice, and more recently red and black rice, did I come to appreciate the variety of taste and texture. I’ve never tried risotto but your recipe has encouraged to give it a stab.

    1. Hi Margaret. When our kids were small we used instant rice too. We cook with basmati and jasmine regularly these days, and now that we are patient and have time to cook slowly the arborio rice works. (also all the pandemic hoarders cleaned out the basmati and jasmine from our local stores but they left the arborio behind). You have us wanting to try red and black rice now! Thanks for the comment!!

  2. Like Margaret, I’m ready after reading this post to try risotto. I especially was encouraged after seeing your suggestions for add ins, as I am not a fan of mushrooms. All of the other suggestions are perfect, thanks.

    1. Hi Val – this is one of my husband’s specialties lately, because he’s more patient than me, but that’s all there is to it, stir, add some more liquid and keep going. One of our sons refuses to eat mushrooms so we make it different ways – sometimes with bacon for him, or vegan with vegetable broth and mushrooms for our daughter.

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