Risotto with mushrooms

Anyone who has watched Top Chef knows that there are two things that trip a chef up. The first is dessert, which I’ve never understood since baking is pretty simple if you pay attention to what you’re doing. The second is risotto. Watching chef after chef crash and burn trying to make risotto led me to the conclusion that risotto would be very, very difficult to make.

I was wrong. Well, half wrong. Risotto takes a lot of attention and would not be easy to make during a timed competition while making three other dishes. As such, I did not attempt to cook a meat product in addition but instead had broccoli a la microwave and raw red pepper strips on the side. But my final product was very tasty and I think Tom Colicchio would agree.

My recipe was almost word for word Mark Bittman’s recipe from his cookbook “How to Cook Everything” except I used slightly less onion and accidentally doubled the wine so I used less chicken stock. In the future, I would use either more mushrooms or more strongly flavored mushrooms since this amount (about 2 oz of shitake) was lost in the risotto.


Risotto ingredients

See youtube in the background for soundtrack… Let it Go from ‘Frozen’.

  • 3/4 medium onion, minced
  • 2 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped loosely (I used Shitake mushrooms)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (I used home-made, but you could do store bought or Bittman offers the options of beef stock, vegetable stock, or water


  • cutting board
  • knife
  • wooden spoon
  • measuring cup
  • saucepan (see pictures below for the size I used)


  1. Cut up onions and mushrooms.
  2. Melt your butter in your saucepan on medium high heat. Then once hot, add onions. Cook for one minute and then add mushrooms. Cook for approximately 3 minutes.
    Step 2: Sauteeing!
  3. Add the arborio rice and mix around so that it gets covered with butter.
    Step 3: Add the rice
  4. Add the cup of wine. Stir regularly until the wine has mostly bubbled away. It shouldn’t get dry but also shouldn’t be soupy anymore.
  5. Add the hot water. Stir until evaporated. You could use chicken stock in this instance, but in Bittman’s original recipe he was using dried mushrooms so this step was the “mushroom soaking” water step. In his fresh mushroom recipe, he just cautions that you’ll need to replace the mushroom soaking water step with more liquid of some sort.
  6. Add the chicken stock a half cup at a time, stirring until it has bubbled down and then adding the next cup. Bittman’s recipe calls for 3-5 cups. Since I used an extra half cup of wine, I used 2.5 cups of chicken stock. Use more if needed to reach step 7.
    Step 4, 5, and 6: Add liquids

    At this point, my soundtrack had switched to my Killers station on Pandora. You’ll need music or some distraction during this step… it’s twenty minutes of adding liquid and stirring

  7. About twenty minutes after the rice first went in the post, taste the risotto. It should be soft but still have a bit of a bite. You will reach this step somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes in (it took about 25 for me). Once the texture is right, remove from the heat and serve.
  8. Bon Appetit!


  1. I did this a couple months ago (also from Bittman’s recipe) with beef stock for all of the liquid. I also probably used more mushrooms.

    Mine came out a little gluey and the beef stock overpowered the other flavors. It also made just way too much risotto.

    One of these days I want to retry it with chicken broth or maybe shrimp broth.

    1. I found that it was not too gluey right after I took it out, more of a creamy texture. But when I was cleaning up and it had cooled a bunch, it was very gluey. I also had a bunch of left overs (probably enough for one lunch, but the risotto was also my main dish for dinner) and am wondering about how it will re-heat texture wise.

      For me, the chicken stock wasn’t overpowering at all. And this was pretty flavorful stock which technically should be called pork and chicken stock since it was made from pork and chicken bones with a bunch of chicken fat and meat still attached. So perhaps it was my use of water and extra wine which made mine work or perhaps beef stock isn’t the best choice.

      1. I think the beef was a bad choice. If I recall, I used water in place of the wine and a full quart of stock.

        I used probably a cup and a half or so of portobello and/or button mushrooms.

  2. Man, risotto is one of those things that I’m incredibly reluctant to try (so good job!), mostly because of how easy it seems to be to overcook it and the time that it takes to prepare, at least in the traditional Italian way (which is basically add butter, stir, wait, repeat). This seems pretty workable though. Some fresh parsley on top would really make it sing. And mayyyybe some cumin.

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