How many species of mushrooms exist in nature? There are tens and tens of thousands worldwide, each characterised by unique shapes and colours. But one above all stands out and sits on the throne, what is known as the king of mushrooms: the cep mushroom. I porcini mushrooms hyear has always played an important role in cooking also thanks to the ease with which they can be stored: whether cooked, raw or dried, they retain their organoleptic characteristics almost intact. One of the most popular recipes and, indisputably, the star of autumn cooking in Italy is the creamy fresh porcini mushroom risottoa dish with an irresistible aroma, loved from north to south of the country as a hymn to gastronomic tradition. Before setting to the cooker to make this tasty recipe, it may be useful to get to know these mushrooms a little better.

Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto: start with mushrooms!

How many types of porcini mushrooms are there?

Known for their firm flesh that encompasses unique flavours and aromas, porcini mushrooms best known and most readily available are four:

  • boletus edulis: has firm, meaty flesh, but which becomes soft in a short time, forming the famous sponge under the cap. Its colour can vary from ochre white to light brown.
  • boletus aestivalis: is harvested in summer and differs because has a longer stem, a smaller light-brown cap under which the sponge forms.
  • boletus pinoplhilus o "Pine Ceps': it owes its name because it grows right under these trees and is the most fragrant. The colour of the cap is brick-reddish and forms a sponge when ripe.
  • boletus aereus: is the firmest, most consistent and fragrant. It does not form a sponge under the cap and is recognisable by its very dark brown colour.

Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto recipe

Preservation of fresh raw porcini mushrooms

Once harvested or purchased, they can be stored but you will need to pay attention to temperature and humidity so always keep them in the refrigerator on the least cold shelf wrapped in a paper bag without washing or cleaning them. It is advisable to eat them the same day they are bought or at the latest the day after to enjoy all their uniqueness. To eat them also in the following months, they can be cleaned thoroughly, placed in a bag and frozen for up to 6 months.

Cleaning porcini mushrooms

Before cooking the porcini mushrooms, it is necessary to clean them thoroughly by taking one mushroom at a time and, with the cap pointing upwards, gently scrape off the soil-rich base with a small knife with a smooth blade. Then use a brush with soft bristles to clean the mushroom from the soil residue and finally wipe over with a well-dampened cloth. If you decide to wash the cap under water, it will be necessary to dry it thoroughly afterwards, and bear in mind that porcini mushrooms are not suitable for soaking in water.

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Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto: simple recipe

For the success of an excellent risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms The right rice must also be chosen, i.e. the one that releases a good amount of starch, which allows for a perfect creaminess. For this risotto, carnaroli rice is preferred, but vialone nano can also be used. The other essential ingredient for this recipe is the vegetable stock to be prepared with carrots, celery and onion and simmered for at least 30 minutes in cold water. Dried mushrooms can also be added to give this broth more flavour and aroma.

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25 minutes

20 minutes

Medium

Cooker

€€

Italian

Ingredients for 2 persons

  • 250 g fresh porcini mushrooms
  • 200 g carnaroli rice
  • 50 g butter
  • vegetable stock q.b.
  • black pepper to taste
  • fine salt to taste

    Accessories

    • 1 medium-sized bowl
    • 1 cutting board
    • 1 knife
    • 1 penknife
    • 1 frying pan

    Risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms: procedure

    Step 1. As a first step Clean the mushrooms thoroughly. Then cut the stalks into small pieces and slice the caps, arranging them on two different plates.

    Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto

    Step 2. Melt half the available butter in a frying pan.

    Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto

    Step 3. Toast the rice for a couple of minutes.

    Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto

    Step 4. Then add a ladle of stock and the prepared stems. Cook over moderate heat, adding hot stock if necessary.

    Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto

    Step 5. After about 10 minutes of cooking, add the cut capsules and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking, adding the necessary stock.

    Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto

    Step 6. Once the cooking is finished, remove the pan from the heat, cream with the remaining butter, add chopped parsley and serve.

    Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto recipe

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    Which wine goes with porcini mushroom risotto?

    To generalise, when it comes to food and wine pairing, is always very complex, not least because the world of wine is so wide-ranging in itself that it is difficult to find unambiguous answers even within the same denomination, not to mention the variations between one winery and another and between one vintage and another. Nevertheless, one can identify some main threads to follow.

    In the case of risotto with porcini mushrooms we have a dish with a distinct aromaticity given by both porcini mushrooms and parsley, a creaminess given by the butter and a delicate sweet tendency given by both mushrooms and rice. Therefore we recommend a lightly dosed classic method sparkling wine with scents of bread crusts and barely hinted yeasts such as an Alta Langa DOCG with a fairly recent disgorgement.

    [Taken from the book "Sommelier: the illustrated manual"p. 416 and p. 423]

    Chiara Bassi

    Writer, sommelier & gastronome

    Not only risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms: in what other ways can they be cooked?

    Once cleaned, it is necessary to wash your hands and work surface thoroughly to avoid contamination and impurities from the soil. Depending on the size of the mushroom, you can decide on the recipe to make, i.e. to cook them in the pan, bake them in the oven, grill them or serve them raw.

    Pan-fried porcini mushrooms

    For the pan cookingif the fungus is large, simply divide the stem, which is the leatheriest part, into four parts according to length. The cap, on the other hand, can be cut into thicker or thinner slices or wedges. Once sliced, cook them in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of fine salt, covering them with a lid at the first stage to allow their vegetation water to release, then remove the lid and brown them. Obviously a more stewed or browned cooking will depend on the recipe to be prepared. Mushrooms in the pan can be flavoured with garlic and aromatic herbs, the most suitable of which is parsley. Garlic can be added during cooking either sliced or poached while herbs are best added at the end of cooking to prevent them from burning and releasing bitter notes to the recipe.

    Porcini mushrooms in the oven

    If you have nice big mushrooms the baking is ideal. Simply cut the stalks in two lengthwise and leave the cap whole, then brush with extra virgin olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Baking in a static oven preheated to 180 degrees will depend very much on the size of the mushroom and the degree of cooking preferred and can therefore take between 10 and 15 minutes. For perfect cooking we recommend turning them halfway through cooking.

    Porcini mushrooms on the griddle

    For the cooking on the griddle you can proceed by always cutting the stem into two parts according to length and making incisions in the cap to even out the cooking time. Before cooking, brush them with extra virgin olive oil and proceed with moderate heat. Cooking time here too will depend very much on personal taste, and even in this case it is advisable to turn them halfway through cooking.

    Raw porcini mushrooms

    To enjoy them instead raw you have to choose the smallest and firmest ones and slice them with a mandoline or a knife and then add them to salads or on top of a cut of meat or in combination with cheese.

    The flavours of autumn: risotto with porcini mushrooms coming up!

    With the fall of the first leaves, nature turns into a picture of warm colours with golden hues, providing landscapes that capture the soul and imagination. In the woods, under carpets of dry leaves, the cep mushroom is ready to enter homes to give a taste of autumn. To savour these flavours and pamper yourself as the first cold weather arrives, all that's left to do is to hunt for the delicious porcini mushrooms and get cooking!

    Creamy fresh porcini mushroom risotto

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