This Easy Mushroom Risotto with thyme is creamy, comforting and delicious! Loaded with rich, savoury mushroom stock and lots of fresh mushrooms, it’s a recipe you’ll want to make again and again.
Years ago over the course of a few weeks hubby and I took a fun weekly evening class all about Italy. It discussed culture, language and, of course FOOD (my favourite part). It was a very casual class and a great way to spend the evenings. I remember when we would come home from the class, we would practice words that we learned over a glass of wine. So fun!
The lady that taught the class was originally from Italy and, of course, I picked up a few pointers from her for making this risotto. For example, don’t brown the onions when they are cooking. Another important step is to cook or ‘toast’ (not brown, though) the rice before adding the wine just to kinda waken up the rice. Little, but important, tips to keep in mind. All in the details, isn’t it?
Easy Mushroom Risotto Recipe from Scratch – Total Comfort Food
This Mushroom Risotto, let me tell you, is really good. It is like a big warm hug, the perfect comfort food. In from the cold? Risotto. Want to make something nice for friends/family? Risotto. You get the picture.
Though this mushroom risotto is simple, don’t leave it. You just have to be attached to the stove for a little bit. It’s a labour of love and requires your attention once you start the process. No worries, though…the recipe calls for some wine, that means that you can have a glass of wine on hand as you are making this 🙂 There’s three cups in a bottle, isn’t there? Well, that means some for the risotto and some for you and your sweetie.
Risotto is honestly one of my favourite things both to make and to eat. And who would have thought that some simple ingredients like mushrooms and arborio rice could make such a special meal?? I just love the process of making it and taking my time with each step. The whole thing just comes together wonderfully.
Today I’m sharing a mushroom flavoured risotto, but risotto can come in all varieties of flavours, even in the basic side (which still tastes fabulous). The main component of risotto is arborio rice, plus a few other pantry staples. The basic ingredients for any risotto are –
- Olive oil
- Arborio rice
- Stock or water
- Parmesan cheese
What is Arborio Rice?
Arborio Rice is an Italian short grain rice. It’s white and hard (like you would expect it to be), but when cooked, it releases a considerable amount of starch, which is what makes risotto so creamy.
Do you Rinse Arborio Rice Before Cooking?
No! The starches from the arborio rice is what gives the risotto its classic creamy consistency. No rinsing required.
Simple Stock Using Dried Mushrooms
Dried mushrooms make for one delicious stock! It’s like liquid gold, if you ask me. How do you re hydrate dried mushrooms?
- Rinse about a couple of cups of dried mushrooms well under warm water to remove any excess debris.
- Soak the mushrooms in water (that has been boiled) for about 15-20 minutes. You want about 4-6 cups of stock for this recipe, so make sure you add enough boiling water to the dried mushrooms to yield the amount you need. Use a large enough dish for soaking (or soak the mushrooms twice to yield the liquid you need).
- Drain the mushrooms from the stock (I don’t use the dried mushrooms in this recipe) and keep stock on low heat in a pot on the stove top for use in this mushroom risotto.
How to Make Risotto
Making risotto at home is easy! You don’t have to save it for special occasions while dining out in a restaurant! So how do you make risotto?
- Cook mushrooms, remove from pan, and lay to one side.
- Then, add olive oil to pan on medium low heat.
- Cook minced onion until translucent (don’t brown).
- To onion, add arborio rice. Stir the rice into the onion/oil. Cook for a few minutes. Don’t brown the rice.
- Add wine to pan and cook until absorbed.
- About a ladle or so at a time add stock to pan, stirring to help the rice release starch. When stock is almost evaporated, add another ladle or so of stock. Continue this process until you are left with a creamy consistency and the rice is cooked through (but still has a little bit of bite – think al dente pasta almost).
- After the last ladle of stock (and when you’ve reached your desired consistency/doneness), add the reserved cooked mushrooms, thyme and salt. You want a creamy consistency. You aren’t cooking this like you would regular rice whereas all the moisture (aka stock) is dissolved. The mixture should be creamy, not too liquidy and not too thick.
- Off the heat, stir in butter and parmesan. Serve and garnish with additional thyme. Enjoy immediately.
Is Risotto a Meal or a Side?
Honestly, it can be both! It’s quite substantial enough to be a meal on its own, especially if there’s hearty ingredients like mushrooms (or even add some crisped prosciutto or pancetta on top). Alternatively, it makes for a great side or starter dish as part of a multi course meal (just serve smaller portions). For a side or starter, it would be lovely with a green salad, steak or chicken.
How Do you Store Risotto?
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
How Do You Reheat Risotto?
Of course (like with many meals) risotto is best eaten when made. However, should you have leftovers, simply place in a pan on medium heat with a little bit of stock or water (start with 1/4 cup) and heat until risotto has loosened and heated through. Should you want to add a little more richness back into the risotto, stir in a dab of butter when heated through.
Does Cream go in Risotto?
No! Classic risotto does not have cream. The starchiness from the arborio rice is what makes risotto so creamy dreamy. No cream needed.
Tips for Making this Easy Mushroom Risotto
- Homemade mushroom stock was used here. This doesn’t take long to do, but if you want to save some time, you can purchase mushroom stock from your grocery. Unsalted vegetable stock or even water can even be used, but the end result won’t be as mushroom-ey or flavourful.
- Speaking of stock, keep your stock warm in a pot next to your risotto. You don’t want to add cool stock to your risotto because you would be slowing the cooking process each time. Keep that stock warm! And every time you add stock, stir well into the risotto.
- I used a combination of white button and baby bella mushrooms, but you could use your favourite variety, as long as they are chopped into bite-sized pieces. Keep in mind, though, if you are using portobello mushrooms, you may want to remove the ‘gills’ of the mushrooms first because they bleed (darken) your rice.
- Use a quality white wine...something you would enjoy drinking. If you wouldn’t drink it, why cook with it?
- This is not a ‘turn on and leave’ kinda recipe. Stick with it.
- This recipe yields 4 decent sized mains to have with a side salad or 6 appetizer portions.
- Have leftovers? Make arancini (basically breaded and fried rice balls stuffed with cheese).
- These 5 mistakes to Avoid When Making Risotto from The Kitchn is a must read.
Other Easy Comfort Food Recipes you May Enjoy
Hope you love this easy mushroom risotto recipe as much as I do!
Until next time, take care and chit chat again soon 🙂
P.S. If you think this easy mushroom risotto recipe will make your belly happy too, please be sure to hit that little Pin button. Many thanks, you guys! XO
Easy Mushroom Risotto
- 2 cups dried mushrooms -I used a 'variety' package of dried mushrooms
- 4-6 cups hot water
Mushroom Risotto with Thyme
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tsp olive oil -divided
- 4 cups fresh mushrooms -thinly sliced; I used baby bella & white
- 1 tsp salt -divided
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 onion -minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tsp fresh thyme -chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese -grated, plus more for garnish (as desired)
- Firstly, get your mushroom stock ready. Rinse about a couple of cups of dried mushrooms and then soak in hot water for about 15 - 20 minutes. You can do in two batches, i.e. soak mushrooms, drain, put stock in pot and then reuse the mushrooms (repeating the process to get required stock amount).
- Simmer stock on low on the stove top. In total, you want about 4-6 cups of stock. In this recipe you'll use approximately 4 cups, but I like to have a little extra, if necessary. Any leftover stock can be used for another dish. Note, I did not use the dried mushrooms for the remainder of the recipe after this; I used fresh mushrooms.
Mushroom Risotto with Thyme
- In a large pan on medium low heat, melt 1 tbsp. of butter with 1 tsp of olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Remove from pan and lay to one side for later use.
- Next, add remaining 3 tsp. (or 1 tbsp.) of olive oil and cook onion until translucent (don't brown), for about 5 minutes. To this, add arborio rice. Stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes (don't brown). Then, add wine and cook until it has absorbed, about 5 minutes or so.
- Add a ladle or so of stock to rice mixture. Simmer and stir (pulling your spatula or spoon through the rice) until stock is almost absorbed; then, add another ladle or so of stock. Continue this process, until the arborio rice starts to release its starch and it gets creamy and the rice is cooked (think kinda like al dente pasta, where it has a little soft bite but is cooked through).
- After the last ladle of stock (and when you've reached your desired consistency/doneness), add the reserved cooked mushrooms, thyme and season with remaining salt, about 3/4 tsp or to taste. Note - you will have used 4-6 cups of stock for this risotto. The mixture should be creamy (not to liquidy, not too thick), and takes in total about 25 minutes.
- Off heat, add remaining 1 tbsp. of unsalted butter and stir through. Then, stir in parmesan cheese. Place in warmed dishes and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and reserved thyme. Serve immediately. This recipe yields 4 decent sized mains to have with a side salad or 6 appetizer portions.