When it comes to 5-star rewards for facing cooking fears, it doesn’t get much better (or more delicious) than Mushroom Risotto.
Mushroom risotto tastes decadently creamy with nutty notes from Parmesan, a floral hint of saffron, and the salty bacon and earthy mushrooms round out the umami factor.
In other words, it tastes amazing.
Homemade Risotto is Easier Than You Think
I spent years avoiding cooking risotto because it has a reputation for being difficult.
Risotto has even been called the death dish on the popular cooking competition Masterchef, because it is (allegedly) so hard to get right.
Don’t you believe a word.
Sorry Gordon Ramsey, the mushroom risotto myth has been busted!
Risotto is 100% doable at home, and it’s not nearly as fussy as you’ve been led to believe.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to stir risotto constantly for 30+ minutes until your arm is about to fall off.
A quick stir every couple of minutes is fine.
Risotto has become one of my favorite dishes to make at home, so much so that I rarely order it out anymore.
Sip some wine while you make it (you’ll have a bottle open for the recipe anyway), chill out, and enjoy the process.
This mushroom risotto is what I cooked for dinner on Valentine’s Day.
You don’t need an occasion to cook it, but garlic mushroom risotto will make any night special!
How to Make Mushroom Risotto
This easy mushroom risotto recipe is attainable for cooks of any level.
Roll up your sleeves, open the wine, and get ready to wow.
- Arborio Rice. Short-grain arborio rice is critical for creamy risotto. It is especially starchy, and as those starches release, they make the risotto creamy.
- Mushrooms. The hearty base of our risotto. Most of the time, I use baby bella (cremini) mushrooms which are easy to find.
- Bacon. For the most mouth-watering risotto. The bacon (and bacon drippings!) adds savory, smoky flavor.
- Shallot. A key flavor-builder and risotto classic. I prefer these over onions.
- Butter. For richness and that unbeatable butter flavor. Skip the olive oil!
- Chicken Stock. Risotto is simple, so every ingredient matters. Buy the best brand you can and make sure it is STOCK, not broth. Stock has more flavor.
- Wine. Wine adds flavor and a touch of acidity to the risotto. A dry white wine like Sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio will work well here.
- Saffron. Saffron is made from the dried stigmas of crocus flowers. It tastes floral, earthy, and complex—there is truly nothing else like it. It is also what gives this risotto (and similar rice-based dishes such as paella) its lovely yellow hue.
- Thyme. Adds an earthiness that complements the mushrooms.
- Parmesan. Salty, cheesy goodness that melts lusciously into the creamy risotto and gives it a note of umami flavor.
To add a green vegetable to this mushroom risotto (and thus nudge it along the healthy end a bit more), make mushroom risotto with peas (stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas at the end; no need to thaw them first) or mushroom risotto with spinach by stirring in a few handfuls of chopped spinach at the end until it wilts.
- Warm the stock and keep in on one burner.
- Sauté the shallot and bacon in butter in a large Dutch oven.
- Add the mushrooms.
- Stir in the rice and garlic. Pour in the wine.
- Pour in 2 ladles of the stock, then stir in the saffron, thyme, salt, and pepper. Let simmer, stirring frequently.
- Once the stock has been mostly absorbed, add 2 more ladles of stock and continue to stir. Repeat this process until the rice is a creamy texture and al dente (DO NOT over cook or your risotto will be mushy). Remove it from the heat and add the Parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley (optional).
Serve mushroom risotto with Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Pinot Gris, or Chardonnay.
- To Store. Refrigerate risotto in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave, adding additional water or stock as needed to thin it.
- To Freeze. Freeze risotto in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, chop the shallot, mince the garlic, and cut the bacon into pieces. Refrigerate each ingredient in a separate airtight storage container.
What Goes Best with Mushroom Risotto
While this dish works fabulously as a stand-alone meal, here are a few ideas of what you could pair with it:
- Chicken. Pair this risotto with Baked Chicken Breast, Air Fryer Chicken Breast, or Baked Chicken Thighs.
- Fish. Pan Seared Salmon, Pan-Fried Cod or Baked Salmon in Foil would be delicious.
- Shrimp. Try Grilled Shrimp Seasoning, Air Fryer Shrimp, or Garlic Butter Shrimp (with a splash of lemon juice).
- Steak. A juicy grilled steak would be scrumptious with this dish and so decadent (see this Steak Sandwich for cooking tips).
- Pork. Grilled Pork Chops or Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin would be tasty with mushroom risotto.
- Bread. Because the only thing that could make mushroom risotto more comforting is a side of pillowy soft No Knead Focaccia.
- Salad. For a light, healthy side dish, try pairing the risotto with Arugula Salad.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. This Dutch oven has plenty of space for making risotto.
- Ladle. You’ll use this to transfer the broth to the risotto.
- Measuring Spoons. Great for measuring spices, baking ingredients, and more.
Homemade mushroom risotto is a pleasure to cook AND a preview of heaven to eat.
Frequently Asked Questions
There isn’t a good substitute for saffron because it tastes so unique. Saffron is available at many grocery stores, at Trader Joe’s, or online. If you cannot find it or wish not to purchase it, omit it from the recipe.
While I highly recommend making the risotto with wine, you can make it without. Swap the wine for an equal amount of chicken or vegetable stock.
This mushroom risotto will pair well with almost any type of meat or seafood. I think it would pair especially well with steak, roast chicken, pork, salmon, or scallops (see the blog post above for more ideas).
While you can make instant pot risotto, I prefer the low and slow method. It makes it more delicious and creamy with amazing flavor!
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 strips thick-cut bacon cut into bite sized pieces (about 3.5 ounces)
- 1 cup chopped shallot* about 2 medium or 3 small
- 16 ounces sliced cremini, baby bella mushrooms or a mix of wild mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon blanc
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads I purchase mine at Trader Joe’s
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Water as needed
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
- In a medium saucepan, warm the chicken stock. Keep a ladle handy.
- In a Dutch oven or similar heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium low. Once the butter melts, add the bacon and shallot. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes more.
- Add the rice and garlic, stirring to coat the grains with the cooking oils. Stir in the wine and let simmer for 1 minute.
- Risotto time, you’ve got this! Add 2 big ladles of the chicken stock, then add the saffron, thyme, salt, and pepper. Let the risotto simmer over low heat until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, stirring every few minutes to promote even cooking and to keep the risotto from sticking. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. You don’t have to stir risotto constantly. Just stick near the stove and pop over to give it a stir every minute or two.
- Repeat the process: add 2 more ladles of stock, and stir every few minutes, until the mixture starts to look a bit dry. Continue adding by 2 ladlefuls, until the rice is cooked through but still has a pleasant, al dente bite, about 25 to 30 minutes total. The risotto should be nice and creamy, not dry (don’t keep cooking on and on until it is mushy or becomes dry). If it has absorbed all of the chicken stock before it is as al dente as you would like, splash in some water (or additional stock if you have it on hand). Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Season to taste and enjoy hot.
- *1 shallot refers to the entire shallot bulb, no matter how many cloves it contains. Think of the term “shallot” the way you would a “head” of garlic vs. a clove of garlic.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate risotto in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze risotto in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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