Wild mushrooms are mysterious and exotic, weird really. Unlike the sturdy and hardy veg of fall we rely on to keep us alive all winter, mushrooms are a fleeting celebration of a changing season.
Fungi Glamor shot
As temps drop outside, it’s time to turn on the oven again and make this baked rice casserole. It’s special—also cozy and hearty.
Not exactly risotto, but not like any other rice either. You will not stir for 30 minutes. You will pop it in the oven and knit while it bakes. You might like it so much you’ll add it to your Thanksgiving roster.
Baked Risotto with Wild Mushrooms
Serves 4 as an entrée, 6-8 as a side, and it goes like this:
2 shallots thinly sliced
Handful of thyme sprigs
About 1 lb mixed mushrooms give or take ( I used maitake, oyster, and cremini here)
1 package of dried porcini mushrooms, usually about ½ ounce
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups stock or water, plus the ½ cup of soaking water from the dried mushrooms
1 cup parmesan
4 T butter (at least!)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Soak the dried mushrooms in ½ cup boiling water. Once they’ve softened remove them from the water and put aside. Strain the mushroom liquid through cheesecloth or a paper towel in case of grit and put it aside too.
Wipe any dirt off the mushrooms with your Ballband dishcloth, or a paper towel. I don’t wash them in water—it’s not necessary and they absorb too much water. Chop them to your liking. I like big rough pieces, you might prefer finely minced.
In an ovenproof, heavy 2 qt pan (that has a lid), melt the butter and sauté the shallots gently, until translucent but not brown. Add the thyme sprigs. I am too lazy to remove the tiny leaves— they fall off the stems while cooking, and I just pluck out the stems.
Add the mushrooms, fresh and dried, and season with a little salt. The salt will draw out their liquid, which is good. Sauté until soft and a little brown. Add the rice and stir it around so each grain gets buttery.
Add the mushroom liquid, 1 ½ cups of the stock and half the parmesan, stir to combine and pop it in the oven, covered. Bake for 30 mins.
Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining stock and parmesan, and if you’re me, a drizzle of olive oil. Serve hot or warm with, yep, a green salad.