Mushroom Risotto with Pancetta and Sage
  • Servings: 6-8
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 pounds cremini mushrooms , wiped clean with a paper towel, stems discarded, and caps cut into fourths if small or sixths if medium or large
  • 2 medium onions , chopped fine (2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 ounces pancetta , finely chopped
  • 1 pound Arborio rice (2 1/8 cups)
  • 1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese , finely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaf
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  1. Tie together bay leaves and parsley sprigs with kitchen twine. Bring bundled herbs, porcini mushrooms, chicken broth, soy sauce, and 3 1/2 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce to medium-low and simmer until dried mushrooms are softened and fully hydrated, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard herb bundle and strain broth through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl (you should have about 6 1/2 cups strained liquid); return liquid to saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Finely mince porcini and set aside.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add cremini mushrooms, 1 cup onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms are well browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute, then transfer mushrooms to oven-safe bowl and keep warm in oven. Off heat, add 1/4 cup water to now-empty skillet and scrape with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits; pour liquid from skillet into saucepan with broth.
  3. Cook 2 ounces finely chopped pancetta and 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pancetta has rendered some fat, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup onions, cooking onions until softened and translucent, about 7 minutes; Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains’ edges are transparent, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until rice absorbs wine. Add minced porcini and 3 1/2 cups broth and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid is absorbed, 9 to 11 minutes. Stir in additional 1/2 cup broth every 2 to 3 minutes until rice is cooked through but grains are still somewhat firm at center, 10 to 12 minutes (rice may not require all of broth). Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, then stir in mushrooms (and any accumulated juices), Parmesan, chopped parsley, and sage. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; serve immediately in warmed bowls.
Cremini mushrooms are sometimes sold as baby bella mushrooms. If they are not available, button mushrooms make a fine, though somewhat less flavorful, substitute. Toward the end of cooking, judge the doneness of the rice by tasting it.