We are fortunate enough to live in a wild mushroom wonderland. These treasures from the forest are bountiful and brilliant and any combination of them can be used in this risotto. The trick here is the whipped creme fraiche that is folded into the risotto at the last minute before serving. It elevates this simple rice dish by giving it levity, creaminess and magnificent texture. Half of the mushrooms are finely chopped and sauteed in the risotto base and half are left in large chunks and roasted until crispy to sit atop the finished risotto, triumphantly announcing their presence in the dish.
1 lb wild mushrooms, cleaned and divided into two portions
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
1 large leek, cleaned and diced
1 large white onion, cleaned and diced
1/4 cup chopped thyme
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 pint creme fraiche
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper
In a small pot, warm your broth and wine with 2 cloves crushed garlic and 2 sprigs thyme. It should on a low heat, the goal is not to evaporate moisture but to infuse the broth with the flavor of the garlic and thyme and keep it warm for when you are ready to incorporate it into the risotto.
Finely chop ½ of the mushrooms.
In a large saute pan over medium high heat, warm the olive oil and half of the butter until they begin to sizzle. Add onions, leeks and finely chopped mushrooms and saute until they start to caramelize, stirring regularly. Add chopped thyme and garlic and continue to saute until they are fragrant. If any of the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with a bit of white wine.
Add the rice and continue to saute it until the rice is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.
Add one cup of warm broth and stir to incorporate. Once the broth has been absorbed, add another cup of broth.
While your risotto is simmering, combine creme fraiche, 2 tsp freshly cracked pepper and ½ cup of freshly grated parmesan in a large bowl and whisk well until it starts to form soft peaks.
In a separate pan, saute the remaining mushrooms with butter and garlic until they are tender and begin to caramelize, season well with flakey sea salt.
Continue the process of adding the broth to the rice, tasting the rice for seasoning as you go and adding salt as needed. Once it is cooked to your desired doneness, fold in the whipped creme fraiche and top with the sauteed mushrooms and a generous dusting of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!